Search Committee Blues
No time for a proper post today-I got assigned the chair of a search committee on Monday and have to complete the process right away.
However, based on my experience so far I have some advice for people applying for academic jobs:
- Include a brief cover letter. Be clear, concise and focus on how you match the position.
- If you are not qualified at all for the position, it might be best not to apply. Your call, though-sometimes luck can be a marvelous thing.
- When asked for a brief writing sample, select what you take to be your best work and include a brief sample. No committee member wants to read through a 100 page “sample”, let alone a hundred of them.
- Do not go overboard in what you send. The odds are that the committee does not need to see your high school transcripts nor a scanned copy of all your diplomas. As a general test, ask yourself how much you would enjoy going through what you are sending in twenty or two hundred times. Sometimes less really is more.
- It is generally a good idea to print only on one side of printed documents. The odds are that some poor fellow (like me) will have to photocopy or scan your application material. Having to deal with two sides is annoying (unless the right equipment is on hand, which it was not).
- It is generally a good idea to not staple every single document. Again, some poor fellow will probably have to scan or copy the material. Pulling 20 staples out of an application package so it can fed through a scanner is not much fun.
- Be sure to send everything that is asked for in the job description. While there are some exceptions, an incomplete application will generally not do very well. In fact, some are simply rejected outright.
- Be patient.