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Academic Job Search

Planning for the academic job search should begin early. Most graduate advisors recommend allowing eighteen months to two years to conduct a successful job search. As you begin your search keep the following factors in mind.

1. Clarify your goals and desires: Do you want to pursue an academic career or one in private industry? Will you focus on teaching or research or both? Do you prefer to work for a large university or a small college? Is location important? Do you need further training in a postdoctoral position, or are you prepared for an assistant professor position?
2. Become an expert in your field: Get to know the major researchers in your field. Read the latest literature. Join professional associations in your field and attend as many events and meetings as possible. Attend departmental colloquia series.
3. Enroll in departmental course offerings on professional development and grant writing: Both will serve you well no matter where you end up working.
4. Network: Networking cannot be overly emphasized. When you attend conferences, talk about your research interests with fellow colleagues. Make an effort to meet people you do not know. Follow-up on research topics via email. Meet professionals in the field during departmental colloquia. Accept invitations to do collaborative research.
5. Publish and present: Set goals for completion of research and writing to submit to professional journals. Present your research at local and national conferences.
6. Gain teaching experience: Develop your teaching skills during teaching assistantships. Volunteer to be a guest lecturer for other courses. Consider teaching a class or course outside the graduate institution you attend.
7. Develop your curriculum vitae or resume. Establish who will write your reference letters. Open an Credentials File with UMass Career Services.
8. Participate in departmental activities: Develop your administrative skills by participating on departmental committees or taking a leadership role in graduate affairs.
9. Meet with a UMass Career Services Advisor: Walk-In hours are Monday through Friday from 12-4pm and one hour one-on-one appointments can be scheduled through calling 413-545-2224 or