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Academic jobs - need some help!

(7 Posts)
Jazzicatz Thu 17-Jul-08 13:06:29

I am finishing off my PhD and looking for work. I have attempted to build my publication and research profile alongside my PhD and am in quite a good position. I have applied for 3 jobs so far and have been shortlisted for all 3 but have not got them. I just feel so dispondent now. How many job interviews will I have to go to - how can I get through the liklihood of rejection. I need to work now as I am skint and cannot afford to wait another 6 months until the phd is completed - for those of you in a similar sitiation - do you think completeing the phd will make a big difference?

Jazzicatz Thu 17-Jul-08 13:15:36


WilfSell Thu 17-Jul-08 13:18:14

Hi there

sorry not to be more encouraging but unfortunately academic jobs are VERY competitive right now and 'finishing off a PhD' can mean anything from 'submitted and waiting for a viva' to 'I think I might get round to writing it up next year sometime'. Candidates who have been awarded it or at least have a viva date are in a much stronger position.

the other thing to bear in mind is the RAE has just happened and there is usually a bit of a hiatus because universities have often spent all their spare recruitment cash buying up people for their profiles. It will actually take 6 months to a year or so for recruitment to pick up again, except perhaps in very rich universities where they will perhaps immediately replace people who leave. The 'transfer market' always speeds up just before an RAE and then quietens off. Also bear in mind little will happen in recruitment terms until the new term anyway and even so, many people won't advertise until Feb/Mar because most people in jobs have to give a full semester's notice and so wouldn't be able to start until next academic year... You might pick up the odd interview for a January start in October/November

If I were you I would ask for feedback about the interviews you were not successful in first: that you were interviewed is a good sign - seems to indicate the PhD was not an issue in these cases. But perhaps there's something you can change about what you were saying: do you have any ideas what the issues might be?

You could also do something else to tide you over while you're waiting: Open University teaching? Marking for exam boards? Summer schools for universities on a p/t basis? Research assistance for busy professors? (I'd just ring round lots of HoDs and ask them if they have anything that needs filling over the summer or email some suitable professional email lists?)

Good luck. If I can advise any further please let me know.

fluffyanimal Thu 17-Jul-08 13:20:38

Hi Jazzicatz,
Completing the PhD probably won't make that big a difference. You need to tailor your application / CV very well for each institution you apply for, to show how your research area will complement what they have. Are you applying for lectureships or post-docs? If the former, do you have any teaching experience? Can you make a big deal about how your research will inform what you teach? Universities are very big on 'research-led teaching'. Can you show how what you do will fit into a wider sphere other than the department you're applying to, e.g. can you show how you'd be able to contribute to cross-department research programmes? What's your field?

The trouble with academic jobs is that they are usually looking for a pretty specific kind of person, so don't be disheartened by not getting anything yet. The market is not great and if you have made the shortlist for all applications so far, it sounds like it won't be long before you find the right place.

If money is an issue can you get something temporary part time while you finish writing up? I do sympathise, I remember how stressful it all was.

WilfSell Thu 17-Jul-08 13:28:05

I seem to remember you are a criminologist? I think a PhD will make a difference in that field (DH is one) especially in a pre-1992 university, in the sense that many depts will immediately rule you out if they have 4-5 equally promising candidates who do have PhDs (and they will have)

But because you're getting interviews, you must be doing lots right so don't be too disheartened. A friend of mine, in a permanent job but only recently graduated with a PhD, 3 articles and a book, wanted to relocate and had 5 interviews before she got a new job...

Jazzicatz Fri 18-Jul-08 09:04:02

Thank you all for your replies. Yes Wilfsell I am a criminologist - I have taken in all your comments and have decided that its just about perserverence as with everything in academia. I am looking for lecturing posts mainly but due to the policy base of my theses have considered withdrawing from this direction and entering the real world of practice! I have been teaching for 4 years and have been working at another university as a V/L I have also a publication record plus research experience. I have the basics there I just need to keep going - tis hard sometimes though eh? But thanks to you all for your helpful comments.

TeeBee Wed 23-Jul-08 13:03:38

Could you do some freelance writing to tide you over? Would allow you keep your hand in the area too, and pays very well (£400 plus per day).

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