Top tactics for finding your next academic job

Starting the search for your next academic post is exhilarating. Who knows where it will ultimately take you? But it can also be exposing, unsettling – and even overwhelming at times.

Navigating your way through so many different opportunities, each with its own rigorous set of requirements, is not for the fainthearted. Dealing with rejection if it comes and then steeling yourself for the next application takes courage and tenacity.

But help is at hand. Here’s a wealth of tried and tested Global Academy Jobs tips to help you ace your job search.

1. Prepare

Begin by laying your groundwork. Review your goals, evaluate your offer, and identify any areas you need to work on before launching your job hunt. Here are five ways to do that:

  • Identify your niche. What’s your long-term career goal, and how does your next role fit in? Do you want to focus on research or teaching, or on developing your administrative portfolio? Asking the right questions now will direct your search towards the right jobs.
  • Refresh your skill set. Now’s the time to plug any gaps that could present a problem to future recruiters. Consider any feedback you’ve received on areas for improvement, and address them. That could mean brushing up on your language skills, writing and reading habits, or your classroom technique.
  • Organise your research. Finalise any projects that remain tantalisingly close to completion. Collate and showcase your work so it’s immediately accessible to anyone checking you out, and make sure nothing’s missing. Then use these tips to get it seen.
  • Review your network to identify contacts who could help support your applications. Many new openings are identified through serendipitous conversations and connections.
  • Develop your interview technique. It may seem counterintuitive, but careful planning is key to appearing relaxed and spontaneous. Read up on interview body language, tips for video interviews, job talks, and – crucially – what interview mistakes to avoid at all cost.
2. Refine your profile

The next step is to prime your online presence. Social media is not only valuable in keeping you abreast of the latest developments and leading people in your field, but it’s also a powerful tool for presenting and promoting your offer. To harness its potential:

  • Check your profiles across all the different platforms on which you have a presence. Are they fully up to date and accurate?
  • Increase your visibility by creating your own blog and podcasts, and writing opinion pieces.
  • Boost your engagement in relevant forums and online academic communities.
  • Make the most of all that Twitter offers the academic community. Check out some great advice from Josephine Scoble, aka @online_academic, here.
  • Don’t overlook LinkedIn. Polish your profile, collect new endorsements and publish regular articles.
3. Execute

Once you’re prepped and ready to start, cast your net wide in the search for relevant posts and make sure your CV, application and cover letter are persuasive, comprehensive and concise. Here’s how:

4. Follow up

Successful candidates take time to follow up proactively after interview. It’s a good idea to:

  • Send a swift, short and sincere thank you.
  • Clarify the time frame, so you know when to check back in if a decision seems slow in coming.
  • Continue the conversation. Forward any research or links you referred to, engage with faculty members online and make introductions to people within your network where relevant.
  • Give your referees a heads-up so they’re ready when a reference request arrives.
5. Repeat

Although rejection isn’t inevitable it can be demoralising if you’re passed over. Don’t let a ‘no’ knock you off course. Draw inspiration from these eight suggestions for ways to recover, reflect and use the experience to refuel and refocus your search.

Start the ball rolling now by signing up here to receive the latest vacancies from Global Academy Jobs direct to your inbox. Here’s to landin­­g a great new academic job!

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Global Academy Jobs specialises in vacancies in the academic and research sector.

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Jo Mitchell is an experienced writer and editor. After studying Modern Languages at the University of Oxford she worked in fundraising at Oxfam GB and Viva, where she specialised in writing communications for major donors. She now provides freelance editing and copywriting services at Nightingale Ink in the firm belief that sometimes words can sing.

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