Many graduate students, especially doctoral students, enter graduate school with hopes of securing an academic job as a professor after graduation. Be forewarned that the academic job market is very competitive in case you share this goal. There are many more applicants than job openings for professors. Yet successful applicants are hired each year. Be aware of the challenge of being hired as a professor, but don’t let that challenge paralyze you. Typically without insurance or retirement benefits, over the last few decades most universities have reduced the number of full time tenure-track professor positions in favor of part-time adjunct faculty who are paid by the course. This has resulted in a great savings for universities but has decimated the academic job market. Academic jobs are often hard to come by because they are so specific, even within a discipline in addition to this.  Because every department must have professors that represent each subdiscipline of the field, it is not enough to have a PhD in a discipline such as Psychology to be hired in a psychology department. For example, within a psychology department all subfields of psychology must be represented. At least one member of the department must specialize in each of the subfields, such as clinical, experimental, developmental, social, and so on.

Parts of academic job application

 

            This means that each university likely has only one or two slots for a professor with your training. It ’s easy to see why academic jobs are so competitive when you add the fact that faculty often hold their positions for decades, often after retirement age. You’ll be stunned at the volume of material that you will submit in your application for a job as a professor in case you thought applying to graduate school was arduously detailed. The academic job application typically consists of these elements: cover letter, curriculum vitae, research statement, statement of teaching philosophy, transcript, sample publications, and recommendation letters. Discuss your fit to the position including your line of research and your teaching experience. Tailor it for each job application to show that you have done your homework and know something about the institution and the geographic area. You probably have written your curriculum vitae by now or CV. For example when applying to a teaching intensive university, place the information about your teaching experience and interests towards the front of your CV. Likewise highlight your research and publications by placing them first when applying to research intensive universities. Describe your research program. What are the questions of interest and how has your research to date addressed them? Where will you go from here? What line of research will you pursue in the future? Include a general time frame. Will you seek funding? From what sources?  Consider adding information about how you will integrate undergraduate students into your research program in case ou are applying to a teaching intensive institution. Your research statement should be accompanied by a sample of representative publications.