Pop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Job Season

It’s job application season in academia again. My first time through this, two years ago, was harrowing to say the least, especially since I was also trying to finish my dissertation. Things worked out for me as I got a postdoc position working with Dr. Pamela Gay, one of the coolest astronomers and science communicators around. And as one does a little over a year into their postdoc, I’m starting to throw myself into the applicant pool once again, just in case, even though postdocs often have three years of funding. Truth is, there are lots and lots and LOTS of us applying for very few jobs in academia.

Though I had long since convinced myself that I wasn’t tenure-track material, I find myself applying for a tenure track position that actually looks super awesome. The focus is heavy on teaching and outreach, which I love, and I’ll have some strong recommendation letters to back me up. So, maybe, it’s not just a shot in the dark this time. And maybe, that “traditional” academia role can work on my terms.

I’m also looking at some non-academic positions, ones that would keep me in science communication, however. I don’t know where the chips will fall, and I feel incredibly anxious about finding anyone who wants to hire or fund me, though a lot of that is certainly impostor syndrome. The biggest internal obstacle may have been just deciding that I’ll make it work somehow, whatever happens.

So I pore over my CV looking for mistakes or things I’ve missed. I draft cover letters. I beg letter writers. And I still keep doing my current job which I love, and I know that I have to follow the funding, in the long run.

Are you struggling with academia job applications? Any tips for a young-in on their second time around? Want to commiserate about finding the best CV fonts? 

The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it to appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons (Eastern Time).

Featured photo CC Jose Téllez.

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Nicole is a professor, astronomer, educator, geek, dog mom, occasional fitness nerd, and maker of tiny comets. She is also very loud under the right circumstances. Like what you read? Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/noisyastronomer


  1. November 16, 2013 at 1:42 am —

    Job applications are no fun. The most annoying thing is the slightly different requirements from each committee (some random mix of cover letter, CV, teaching statement, research statement, writing sample, and dissertation abstract). That and schools that make you use Interfolio. Why should I have to subscribe to a pay service just so you can keep track of the documents? It’s not like people looking for academic jobs (read: grad students, post-docs, junior scholars) have a lot of extra money lying around.

  2. November 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm —

    Oh man, I haven’t had to pay for anything yet. I did finally sign up for HigherEdJobs though, and that seems free.

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