Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Early Observations from 2014-15 Job Search

NPSIA has two positions this fall, both in the area of intelligence, terrorism and national security.  Our first deadline passed in mid October, and our second passed yesterday.  I have only seen the first batch of files for a pretty specialized spot, but already have some observations that might be useful for those might be applying for later jobs elsewhere and in the future:
  1. Read the job description.  And then revise one's standard pitches (cover letter, research statement, teaching statement) so that you appear to fit the job description.  
  2. Read my CV rules.  So many violations including:
    1. Started listing publications on page four or five instead of page one or two
    2. Listing non-publications as publications.  These would include papers under review, papers in progress, and other things that have not yet be accepted by a journal or press.
    3. Lots of extra text about previous jobs (this is a CV, not a resume).
  3. Something out of control of applicants: letter writers who put their entire letter of recommendation in bold.
  4. The line between arrogant and confident can be a fine one--try to be on the non-arrogant side of the line (and, yes, I am self-aware enough to know that some people think that I am arrogant AND offering unsolicited advice on a regular basis can also be viewed as arrogant).
  5. These processes are slow.  Our committee has not met, and is having a hard time figuring out a time for all of us to get together.  Don't think that hearing nothing means that one has been selected out.  My experience is that Canadian schools move with less urgency, but also that all search committees have many people with "day jobs" which make it hard to get everyone together.

The good news is that there are plenty of interesting people doing impressive work.  Well, good news for those doing the hiring.  The second job we have is less specialized so I expect many more applications and perhaps more lessons to learn and pass on.

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