September 6, 2018
To my peers on the job market,
As part of our series on the Job Market last week, I was tasked to write a letter to you as a sort of wrap-up post. I’ve been putting it off because I have struggled with what to write. It’s been three years since my own experience on the job market (psychology, teaching colleges). When I think back on that experience, there are two things that stick out to me:
In many ways the job market is bleak. Cue the anguish over the adjunctification of higher education, the increase in the number of PhDs produced and a decrease in assistant professor positions opening each year. Cue the ever dwindling resources on campuses that lead to less competitive salaries that make justifying cross country moves less and less doable.
This reflection is not helping. It is, as I feared, not an encouraging pick me up. Let me turn the proverbial page.
Despite the market and the difficulty, you can get a job. Be as flexible as possible. Know your worth. Have others review your job materials. Ask people who have been successful on the market to share their materials. Read the blog “The Professor is In”. Dr. Karen Kelsky and her colleagues are justifiably pessimistic about academia, but have great advice on what works in terms of application materials, interviews, etc. They also present a lot of information and advice for leaving academia and going alt-ac (looking for and applying for jobs that are non-academic).
Find a buddy. Whether it’s a partner, friend, parent, peer, or tweep. Have a person you can rely on to hear your vent sessions and offer encouragement. Keep your head up!
Remember and repeat as often as necessary: You can get a job.