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When should I look for a job?

Timing is everything - and that is especially true in applying for a faculty position.



Too often, faculty job candidates wait too long before they start applying for jobs. Faculty searches are a long, drawn-out process and if you wait too long to start searching, you’ll miss part (or all) of the normal hiring cycle.


Filling a faculty position is not an easy task with many rules and regulations that Universities have to abide by to hire a new professor. Given the complexity of the search process, it can take many months to conduct a search and hire a faculty member.


Because of this, many Universities start searches as early as one year before the actual first day of employment, so you should start looking for job advertisements at least one year before you anticipate being ready to start a new job.


If you want to be considered for faculty positions that start in mid-August in 2020, you need to start looking for available jobs in mid-August 2019. That means that you’ll start looking for a job (or post-doc) before you’ve probably done much work on your dissertation!

....if you wait too long to start searching, you’ll miss part (or all) of the normal hiring cycle.

Most Universities will start advertising for faculty members in the Fall semester, with a targeted start date the following mid-August because of the standard academic calendar. Besides the complexity of the process, starting the search early gives Universities the best chance to hire the best potential available faculty.


The secondary job cycle occurs in the Spring semester; however, there usually aren’t as many jobs advertised during this time period due to the fact that many positions will have been filled already.


As a job applicant, the search process seems very long and drawn out. It could take as long as 4-6 months from when you send in a job application to when you sign the contract. However, you should understand that the Department that is hiring you has often been working on getting permission to hire a faculty member for many months and sometimes years! Keep that in mind as you start thinking about when you should apply.


Check out Finding the Best Faculty Job for You where all the intricacies of when to apply and the reason for the academic timeframe is explained in detail.


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