School has started

School has started for many people, which means that it is time to get started thinking about applying for jobs for next year. This can be a daunting prospect in the current job market. But there are steps to take that can make the beginning easier.

Step 1: What kind of job do you really want – mainly teaching, an emphasis on research, industry, government, business? Decide what will make YOU happy, not what will make someone else happy, as you need to do the job.

Step 2: What preparation do I need for the job in step 1? If you want a mostly research job other than NSA, then you might want to consider a post-doctoral position somewhere. If you don’t want academe, are your programming skills up to date? Caveat: There are more people seeking post-doctoral positions than there are positions, so plan on applying to other types of jobs as well. This is actually good advice for everyone – you may not get your dream job so apply to a variety of types of jobs.

Step 3. Talk with people. Talk with your advisor or post-doctoral mentor. Talk with your department chair or boss. Talk with people who have the kind of job you think you want. Talk with significant others as to their needs in term of moving, jobs for them, time commitment in your job, etc. Email questions to this blog. I’ll try to answer.

Step 4. Look for employers who are offering jobs that interest you. is a good place to start, especially for academic jobs. is also a good resource for more applied jobs.

Step 5. Consider geographic limitations that your situation demands, if any. Do you need to rethink any of the above steps as a result?

Step 6. Investigate the places to which you intend to apply both to be sure that you are interested and so that you can make the best application you can.

That’s it for getting started. Next time will deal with the application process.


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