Building an academic career does not end when you receive your degree. That is only the end of the beginning. Completing graduate school means that it is time to begin the search for an academic job.
Jobs in academia typically stress research or teaching, depending largely on the institution. While most jobs involve both research and teaching responsibilities, give some thought to which is your greatest interest. (You can always adjust your emphasis.)
If you don’t have much experience job hunting, it may be helpful to read some books or take a class on resume writing and interviewing. Needing a job is not enough; wanting a job is not enough; being the right candidate for a job is not enough—you must be able to convince prospective employers that you are the right candidate. Develop the skill set necessary to do that.
Develop your Curriculum Vitae
Now you should develop a CV. Spend some time thinking about your experience, accomplishments and training—and the best way to describe them. You should catalog your teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, awards, honors, affiliations and other such details.
You don’t want your key accomplishments and credentials to be lost in a sea of minor points. Present your credentials and unique qualifications clearly, succinctly and in descending order of importance. It’s often a good idea to highlight your key accomplishments at the top of your CV.
Also, make sure to tailor your CV to each job you apply for. If a job is going to demand you teach introductory philosophy and logic classes, highlight your broad knowledge of philosophy—not your in-depth study of Summa Theologica.
Your CV will be sent out along with a cover letter that describes your interest in the position you’re applying for, as well as what you will be able to contribute to the program—and the institution—to which you’re applying. A cover letter should be brief, professional and positive. It should highlight your interest in the job, your research and teaching experience, and the skills, strengths and knowledge that uniquely suite you to the job. Stress your understanding of the particulars of the job: a small college in a remote town wants to know why you want to go there. Saying, “It’s the only offer I’m likely to get” isn’t a good answer.
When you interview for a job, be familiar with the institution you’re interviewing at. More often than not, you will face the question: Why do you want to work here? To be able to field that question effectively, you should know something about the school, the department, the faculty and the location.
As you answer questions about your dissertation and research in general, about teaching, and about your long term career plans, you want to convey that you are knowledgeable, thoughtful, friendly, and enthusiastic about your work.
- Continuing support from ARI—ARI provides a wide range of grants and other support Objectivist intellectuals.
- Work at ARI—ARI is always looking for talented Objectivists to teach, lecture and write for the Institute.
- Resources for professors—ARI provides many forms of support for professors interested in Rand, from a monthly e-newsletter, Ayn Rand in Academia, to free review copies of her works, and access to guest lecturers.