Starting the hunt for an academic post can feel daunting, but many aspects of the application process will be similar to other jobs (even if the exact processes differ) and starting to plan and prepare well in advance makes the process less stressful. None of us can control the outcome, but what we can control is how we approach the task.
Where do I look?
Vitae suggest a list of sites to look for academic jobs. The first port of call for most academic job hunters in the UK (they do also advertise some international posts) is www.jobs.ac.uk – sign up to their mailing list to get regular emails advertising current posts. This is a good idea even before you are ready to look, as it gives you an idea what is out there, how often posts come up, and what employers are looking for.
How do I start preparing?
Fore-warned is fore-armed. The best way to prepare for writing applications in the short and long term is to know what is expected and what skills and experience prospective employers will be looking for. The easiest way to do this is to look at personal specifications. If you want to work in academia, you are probably looking at a postdoctoral research role, or an associate lecturer role, as a first step (depending on your experience). The following resources will get you started:
- Postdoctoral research associate person specification
- Associate Lecturer person specification
- Activity – mapping your experience to a person specification
- Writing a personal statement: tailoring your application
- Understanding the shortlisting process
- What are they looking for?