Job Market Application
Preparing for the Job Market in Philosophy
Department of Philosophy, Loyola University Chicago
Your decision to go on the academic job market should be taken in conjunction with your dissertation director and committee. Success on the academic job market requires careful planning throughout one’s time as a doctoral student. This document outlines only the final steps in a larger process. Doctoral students who go on the job market will typically have completed their dissertation, or will be approaching completion (i.e. they will have multiple chapters written in a publicly shareable form, including with a prospective hiring committee). A doctoral student who has not yet defended must be able to demonstrate that the dissertation will be completed should employment be successfully secured. Ideally, doctoral students going on the academic job market will also have either published peer-reviewed research or will have peer-reviewed research accepted for publication, given relevant conference presentations, and taught classes as instructors of record.
It used to be customary for tenure-track jobs in North America to be advertised almost exclusively between September and November, with non-tenure-track jobs typically appearing in the Spring. Tenure-track and non-tenure-track jobs (like lectureships and postdocs) are now advertised all year round, and this fact should be kept in mind when preparing to go on the market: a good job may arise before you expect it to. However, most jobs in North America still appear in early Autumn. Jobs in Europe are advertised throughout the year.
What to Prepare
Some job advertisements will request specific kinds of materials (typically, syllabi or various forms of applicant statements), or will ask you to consolidate or collate your materials into one document. Others will require you to input information from your files into online portals. While the peculiarities of each job advertisement cannot be known in advance, as a rule, you should draft polished versions of the following materials:
• cover letter
• research statement (2 pages or circa 1000 words)
• writing sample (typically circa 6000-10,000 words; this should be your strongest written work to date, and could be a published or forthcoming article, a dissertation chapter, a shortened section of a chapter, or some other piece of representative research)
• dissertation abstract (circa 500 words)
• teaching dossier (teaching statement, copies of existing syllabi, sample syllabi, quantitative data from student evaluations, including TA evaluations; other documents that demonstrate teaching competence, e.g. assignments, essay prompts, unsolicited student testimonies about teaching, evidence of teaching workshop attendance, etc.)
• graduate transcripts (preferably complete and official)
• minimum of 3 confidential letters of recommendation, including a letter about your teaching
The following materials are not requested in every advertisement, but should ideally be prepared:
• a second writing sample, either within your AOS, or in an AOC, in case supplementary research materials are requested
• diversity statement
• draft statement of alignment with mission for religiously affiliated institutions
• alternate cover letter, or sections thereof (e.g. for teaching-centric positions, postdocs, etc.)
• official or high-quality .pdf copy of PhD degree (if conferred)
• additional confidential letters of recommendation
• your outfit for a potential first-round or second-round interview
There are a variety of application materials used by former Loyola students. These samples include CV, cover letters, dissertation abstracts, statements of pedagogy and summaries of teaching scores. To view the samples, please contact the Graduate Program Assistant, Miguel Diaz, at email@example.com.
Finally, use this template for the cover page when summarizing teaching evaluation scores.
Ideally, your materials should reach your director and committee members for review 3 months before your intended application start date. This will afford you sufficient time to make necessary modifications before submitting applications and will allow them enough time to comment on your materials and write strong letters. Since creating polished copies of application materials is a lengthy process, you should ideally begin preparing your materials 6 months before you intend to apply for jobs. Using 1 September as a placeholder, the following timeline is suggested:
• inform your supervisor and committee of your intent to go on the academic job market
• in conjunction with your advisor and mentors, select a writing sample; re-write and edit it
• if you are teaching, ask a faculty member who has agreed to write your teaching letter to observe you teaching (if you are not teaching or if you know that you will not teach before going on the market, you should invite the prospective letter writer to observe your teaching in a prior semester)
• draft your teaching dossier
• update your CV (this should be done every semester)
• draft your research statement
• draft your dissertation abstract, if not written already
• draft your cover letter
• draft your diversity statement
• send your materials to your supervisor and committee
• request letters from your committee
• request graduate transcripts
• continue revising your writing sample
• continue revising any materials that might go in your dossier
• revise your materials in response to comments
• check-in with your letter writers to ensure that their letters are ready (and updated, if necessary) to be submitted
September (and onwards)
• submit to job advertisements
The above timeline is only a sketch of an ideal scenario and is intended to serve as a heuristic guide. For various reasons, it may not be possible to meet it; opportunities or circumstances may arise that will require alternative plans. Applying for jobs will take an immense amount of time and should be seen as a job in itself. Graduate students are encouraged to keep this in mind as they plan to go on the academic job market.
Where to Look
Academic job advertisements in philosophy are posted online, and submission of job materials is exclusively electronic (with extremely rare exceptions). The following websites regularly post job advertisements in philosophy:
• CHE Jobs
• Higher Ed Jobs (includes community college job listings)
• jobs.ac.uk (for jobs in the UK and Europe)
• Philos-L (this listerv often posts job advertisements, typically in Europe)
If you get an interview, the placement committee will help you prepare by conducting mock interviews. You should immediately inform your supervisor and the chair of the placement committee if you are invited to interview, so that the necessary preparations can begin.
Additional helpful information is available through the LUC careers website.