Preparing for Job Applications

Whether you are looking for a research job, teaching job, or position outside of academia, my advice for graduate students is to begin the job search process as early as possible. These days, candidates face several types of interviews—by video conference, phone, and in-person—and to be fully prepared for these interviews, you need to have enough time to practice for each one. Also, there are a number of steps you can take now to prepare for job applications:

  • Update Your Curriculum Vitae (C.V.): This is the first step you need to do before applying for jobs. I recommend that you write a detailed C.V. that includes all your teaching and research experience.
    Classroom experience is an important aspect of a CV

    Be sure to include your teaching experience on your C.V.; it is an important aspect of your job application in today’s competitive job market. Photo by Alexi Hoeft, used with permission.

    In addition, I suggest that you write about your professional memberships and your volunteer work for professional societies related to your area of research and specialization.

  • Create a LinkedIn Account: According to my experience applying for jobs, most employers look at your LinkedIn profile and the connections you have. It is easy to create a LinkedIn account by going to the LinkedIn website and signing up using your email and password or your Facebook account. Once you have your own LinkedIn account, you can enter your experience, skills, and job history into your profile, and you may also attach your C.V. if you are willing to let other people see it online. One advantage of having a LinkedIn profile is employers can contact you when they search for prospective employees. If you are still wondering what to write in your LinkedIn profile, you are welcome to look at my profile as a sample profile. Warning: There are many scammers on LinkedIn, so be careful when you respond to someone who claims he/she is an employer. I would recommend looking at the message carefully and do not click on any links in the message. Then, look at the person’s profile, and search his/her name to see if that person is really working at their listed institution or company.
  • Create a ResearchGate Account: If you are looking to work in a research institute, then I recommend that you create a ResearchGate account. The advantage of having a ResearchGate profile is that you can contact other researchers and ask questions by joining a research group related to your research interests.
  • Ask for Strong Letters of Recommendation: I recommend that you speak as early as possible with your professional references to ask them to write strong letters of recommendation. Some examples of professional references are your advisors, coauthors, employers, supervisors, and professors.

I hope these preparatory steps help you in applying for jobs. Nowadays, applying for jobs is one of the most difficult tasks that face graduate students. Even if at first you do not get any job offer from employers, please do not blame yourself or get discouraged. It’s a tough market for us all.

My final advice for all math graduate students: Do not let any challenge in your life prevent you from achieving your goals.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below or email me:

About Mohammed Kaabar

Mohammed Kaabar is a math faculty member (professor) at Riverside Community College District. He is the author of (A Friendly Introduction to Differential Equations) and (A First Course in Linear Algebra) Books, and his research interests are numerical analysis, differential equations, linear algebra, and real analysis. He is an invited Technical Program Committee (TPC) member in many conferences such as ICECCS 14, ENCINS 15, eQeSS 15, SSCC 15, ICSoEB 15, CCA 14, WSMEAP 14, EECSI 14, JIEEEC 13 and WCEEENG 12. He is a former editor for the American Mathematical Society (AMS) Blog, and he is also a certified peer reviewer and member of the math editorial board at Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) which is a program of the California State University System partnering with education institutions, professional societies, and industry.
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