Academic Job Search

Preparing for the Academic Job Market


Frequently Asked Questions


Advice From ODU Faculty


Preparing for the Academic Job Market

ODU faculty offer academic job advice in this series of five videos that address important topics related to the job search.

Getting the Academic Job
Dr. Nina Brown provides a description of the steps in the process of obtaining your first academic position.
Identifying Fit
Dr. Robert Wojtowicz provides a guide for reading and interpreting job ads. His advice will help you zero in on positions that fit your academic career goals.
Selling Yourself
Dr. John B. Ford describes seven critical steps in the process of selling yourself to obtain your first academic position.
Preparing Your Job Application
Dr. Sheri Reynolds offers important advice on preparing your application packet. These strategies and tips will help you make the best written impression and increase your chances of being selected for a telephone or campus interview.
The Job Talk
Dr. Bryan E. Porter discusses the critical importance of the job talk in interviewing for academic positions. He provides strategies for making sure that your job talk is memorable and strengthens your chance of being offered the job.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many positions should I apply for?

There is no strict limit on the number of positions to which you may apply. Be sure, however, that you select schools whose mission and location intersect with your professional goals. If, for example, you couldn’t possibly imagine teaching at a small, liberal arts college in Montana, don’t apply. That would be a waste of your time and the search committee’s time. On the other hand, all academic positions are competitive. Applying to only a few positions may mean looking elsewhere or waiting another year!

What is the best way to find out about jobs opening up in the future?

Check the online job postings of the Chronicle of Higher Education (, HigherEdJobs ( and those of your discipline’s professional society. Also check the list servs for any professional organizations in your discipline. Ask your faculty mentors, too, if they have heard about any open positions from their colleagues at other institutions.

Who are the best resources for finding out specific information (i.e. the future direction of schools in terms of teaching and research) about potential schools?

For general information about a potential school, scour its website. The more you know about the department to which you are applying the better. For specific information about research, teaching and service expectations, ask the search committee if your candidacy advances to the interview stage.

How concerned should I be about my interests overlapping with a faculty member at a potential school?

At the interview stage, it is a good idea to ask a general question about how much freedom one has to develop new courses and/or new research directions. One might also ask about a department’s commitment to collaborative teaching and/or research, as well as related interdisciplinary initiatives. Listen carefully to the committee members’ responses. If you hear a mixed message, the department’s commitment might be lacking and you might find yourself in unpleasant competition with another faculty member.

How concerned should I be about my interests having little relationship to my potential colleagues?

This should not pose a problem, especially in a small department. If, at the interview stage, however, there is NO interest expressed in your teaching and research interests, then take note. This situation will not likely improve over time.

While tenure-track positions are obviously preferable, are there any downsides to adjunct professor positions?

It is difficult to land a tenure-track position on the first application cycle. There is no harm in accepting an adjunct teaching position in the interim; you will gain valuable teaching experience that will serve you well in the next application cycle. How far ahead of the application process should I begin looking for potential positions?

Begin you job search the semester before you defend your thesis and/or dissertation. But also remember the search for many tenure-track jobs will start in the summer or fall before the Academic Year in which the position starts, so be prepared to begin applications at those times. New positions, however, will continue to be posted, so keep looking. And remember – persistence pays!

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Advice from ODU Faculty

Career Pathways has organized several workshops and panel discussion where faculty from across the university have shared their academic job market experiences – as candidates and applicants, faculty advisors, reference letter writers, search committee members, and search committee chairs.

Teaching elements of the job search
This workshop will focus on how to prepare for a teaching-focused academic job search. Panelists will discuss teaching elements of the application packet and interview, such as teaching materials to include in the application packet, classroom demonstration, and the teaching job talk.

Strategies for success in the academic job search
This event focuses on successfully navigating the academic job search process. The emphasis is on helping students understand the academic job search process and providing advice, tips, and strategies for succeeding in this process.

The effective job talk
OVERVIEW of the job search process, tips and strategies for organizing the content of the job talk, different types of presentations, different audiences for a job talk

Managing your digital identity
Overview and basics: Why it matters, how it matters, what should I manage?
Does it really matter? The search committee perspective
Tools for showcasing the digital YOU: What is an ePortfolioand how can I use ODU WordPress to create one?