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Earlier this week, I was asked to talk to PhD students at American University as part of a panel about the academic job market. I wanted to share a few thoughts from that panel for those who couldn’t make it. These observations are, of course, based on my own experiences, which probably aren’t typical. However, during that process, I also sought out advice from dozens of professors and colleagues. In particular, however, I want to focus on what the academic job market looks like for first-time applicants who are graduating from non-elite doctoral programs (that is, outside the privileged circle of ten or so programs from which the majority of new, tenure-track professors are hired), and especially those with degrees in International Relations. The market is tough, but it’s not hopeless!
My experience, by the numbers:
- I applied for about 75 positions over a three-year period. I would say that I was semi-selective about where I applied (that is, I wasn’t automatically firing off applications to every vacancy). I customized every one of those applications to at least some extent. Keep in mind, this takes a lot of time.
- About 35 of those applications were to tenure-track or permanent jobs. About 20 were for fellowships and postdocs. About 15 were for visiting/term positions.
- I received three interviews (and three offers) for permanent positions, though none was at a traditional academic institution in the United States. Two were abroad. I was interviewed for one postdoc, also abroad (no offer). I interviewed for four visiting/term jobs (two offers, including my alma mater in odd circumstances).
My thoughts: (more…)