When to Start Applying for Jobs in Academia

When is the best time to start applying for academic jobs?  If you are a grad student in your 4th or 5th year, you should definitely start thinking about your next step.  Start thinking about the career you want and the types of jobs you want to apply for.

Download the Application Checklist!

When to start applying for jobs in academia as a graduate student | The Academic Society | for graduate students in Math and STEM

This article is for grad students who are interested in applying for jobs in academia and hope to be employed in Fall 2018.  Academic jobs include the following positions:

  • Post doc

  • Visiting professor

  • Instructor

  • Lecturer

  • Tenure track professor

The purpose of this post is to give grad students an idea about how much prep is required to apply for a job in academia as well as how to be as successful as possible on the job market.


Deadlines for Apply for Academic Jobs

A good place to start to figure out when to start applying for academic jobs is too look at deadlines.  If you are a mathematician, a great place to start is mathjobs.org.  I like to classify the job listings in two ways.  The ones with fall deadlines and the ones with spring deadlines.


Which ones should you strive to meet?  The fall deadlines.


Why fall?

Fall is so early!  The new school year is just getting started and you are just getting the hang of your very busy schedule.  Between teaching your classes, conducting research, attending seminars and conferences, meeting with your advisor, and writing your dissertation, where do you find the time to apply for jobs and meet these crazy early deadlines?  I’ll tell you exactly how…in a bit.  


Keep reading.


Why do schools make application deadlines so early?

Believe it or not, sometimes it’s a struggle for departments to find a person that is a good fit for the position they are offering.  So, posting an early deadline gets candidates in to be interviewed early.  And when they offer the candidate the job, there is little to no competition from other schools.


Also, there may be a big conference coming up.  In math, the Joint Math Meetings happen every January.  A lot of schools use this time to meet and interview candidates that applied in the fall.  So if you wait until spring you are missing out on so many interviews!


Why is applying for academic jobs in the fall good for you?

Applying for jobs in the fall may seem like a lot of work…on top of a lot of work.  But this can be very good for you!  Everyone else who plans to apply for jobs is busy too.  So maybe they won’t meet those early deadlines.  This is less competition for you!  Not that competition is a problem.  You are awesome and, if you stick with me, I know that you will create a standout application packet.  But let’s make it even easier for schools to notice you!  Apply early.


I started applying for jobs in the fall and I’ll never forget my first deadline.  October 15.  I was the first of my friends to get an application out.  It was scary and overwhelming but it gave me the push I needed to keep going.  I actually didn’t even need to apply for anymore jobs after November.  That’s less than 2 months of submitting applications.  I got multiple phone/Skype interviews and 4 on-campus interviews by the end of November.  I got three job offers and accepted my current position in December.  This was before many of my peers had even started applying for jobs!


This can be you too!

Download the Job Application Checklist!


Start Applying for Academic Jobs in the Summer.

When you start in the summer, you can create all of the application materials you’ll need before the crazy, busy semester starts!  What materials, you ask?  I’ve put them all on a checklist for you.

Once you’ve created the application materials, all you need to do when the semester starts is create a system for applying for jobs. It will take you no time to do and you can get back to focusing on your research and teaching your classes.  I can help you with that too, when you download the checklist you will join the email list and get tips and tricks from me. 


What you can do now?

When you get the checklist, you may not know where to start.  My suggestion is to start with your CV first.  Then move on to your Teaching Statement.


Related Post:  How to Write an Academic CV as a Grad Student


Need help getting started with those?  You know I got your back!  Get daily emails that walk you through getting your CV completed in 5 days for just 15 minutes a day!


When should you start applying for academic jobs?

So did I ever answer the question I first posed?  When should you start applying for academic jobs?  The answer is the fall, one year before you want to start working in the fabulous world of academia.  And when should you start working on your application materials?  The summer before you start applying.  I hope that clears everything up!

If you have any other questions, leave them below or check out the Facebook Page for The Academic Society.

Download the Job Application Checklist!