The Academic Job Search Timeline
2+ years before completion
- Become familiar NOW with postings for the work you want.
Where is the best place to look for the jobs you want? (E.g. online, in professional journals, The Chronicle for Higher Education, and so on.)
What type of work would you do? (E.g. tenure-track, limited-term appointments, sessional instruction, and so on.)
What skills and expertise will you be expected to have?
In what city/country are the jobs you want? (Are you ready to move?)
What materials will you need to prepare in order to apply? (E.g. a course syllabus, a letter of intent, reference letters, and so on.)
12-18 months before completion
- Begin applying for jobs and postdocs.
- Confirm your references and begin collecting letters from them.
- Attend relevant professional association meetings and conferences: network!
- Practice academic interviews/job talks. (E.g. meet with peers to plan and prepare, or attend The Academic Interview workshop.)
- Determine what your employment-related needs are and prepare to negotiate offers that comes your way.
- Stay on track with your writing and research (complete your dissertation!)
- Have a Plan 'B' ready (E.g. a postdoc, short-term sessional instruction, non-academic work). Academic hiring is a competitive process!
4-6 months before completion
- Continue to stay alert for postings of both postdocs and tenure-track positions
- Set up your dossier with the Graduate Dossier Service (GDS).
- Continue networking
- Keep your teaching dossier & research dossier up-to-date.
- If you get a job, let your network know! (And, specifically, be sure to thank your references!)
- Keep your interview skills honed
For more information, browse the results of the Survey on Doctoral Education and Career Preparation: http://www.phd-survey.org/report%20final.pdf
Also take a look at a similar timeline published by the University of Michigan's Career Center: http://www.careercenter.umich.edu/students/gradservices/academic/acadtime.htm
Finally, anyone seeking to develop a career in academia should obtain a copy of the Academic Work Search Essentials guide published by the Career Centre, and available at the Career Resource Library.