Cardiod to Cardiod, Advisee to Adviser

Summer has past, fall is upon us, and it’s time for another job search season. This is the perfect time to sit down with your adviser and honestly discuss the types of jobs you want to pursue and how to be successful in your search.

What type of job are you interested in?

For example, if you want an academic position, are you primarily pursuing teaching, research, or a combination of both? This is important for your adviser to know. His or her letter of recommendation will play an important role in your application, sometimes conveying subtle information. A letter with two pages on your research program, followed by a cursory sentence stating you are collegial and good in the classroom sends a certain message, as does the reverse. Your adviser may not know your teaching first-hand, but should know your interests.

Letters of recommendation

Many candidates include letters of support from senior members at an outside institution. It can be difficult to know all of the respectable names in your field, and who is willing to write for you just from reading your work and vitae. Talk to your adviser for suggestions. Also ask about timing, as you want as many results as possible to highlight, but should give reviewers ample time before any deadlines.

The mechanics of the process

How many jobs should you target? What do you include in a teaching statement? What is the proper length for a research statement? Just how many letters do you need? Which recommendations are a must? Your adviser has likely seen materials from past students or applicants. He or she also has more experience with c.v.’s and can help you spot missing or extraneous information. If your adviser is fairly new, or less familiar with the particulars of the type of job you are seeking, it may be helpful to also ask another person for additional advice, but your adviser will still have much to offer.

We here at On the Market are here to help, but remember that your adviser has been through this – and successfully, too!

Sharon GArthwaite

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