Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This Year's October JFP

I have a few observations about this year's October JFP.

1. I kind of like that they stopped organizing the ads by region. I always wondered why the Central district was one thing and the Midwest district was something else. This is not a big deal, I guess, but who says every point has to be significant?

2. I'm still not in love with the way they start the numbers over for the web-only ads, but at least the duplicates are clearly labeled.

3. As in past years, many of the web-only ads paradoxically also appear in the print version.

4. I feel like there are fewer "open" ads than usual, but I'm not sure that's really accurate. I think there were a lot more in '09, and not as many last year.

5. I'll be applying for around 40 jobs from issue 191; that's about 10 more than last October.

6. I'll be applying for around 3 jobs that weren't in the JFP; of those, none were found on the Phylo jobs or PhilJobs websites. Higher Ed Jobs.

7. My guess is that I'll add another 10 applications in November. If so, this will be the best year since before Lehman Brothers. By kind of a lot. It won't be anywhere near pre-economic-catastrophe levels, though.

8. Almost all my applications will be online this year. Three fourths, anyway. That's up from just under half in '09 and '10.

9. But, and I know I'm not the only person to have pointed this out recently, it would be nice if you could save portions of your profile in the system and not have to retype all the info for every online application.

10. I feel pretty good going in. My file is better this year than it was last year. I feel like I'm making the right kind of progress. I've been in the wilderness for a while, but I think it's clear that I have been using this time well. While I would not describe myself as "confident," or anything, I think I have a respectable chance this year. Relatively speaking. I'm proud of what I've accomplished, anyways.

11. Good luck, everyone.

--Mr. Zero


Anonymous said...

good luck to you too, Mr. Zero!

Anonymous said...

yes, good luck to you and to me! by the way, i was thinking of applying for the Harper and Schmidt junior fellow program at the University of Chicago. Does anyone know if those who have not attended a Leiterific school should even apply?

Anonymous said...

I second point 10.


zombie said...

Anon 6:29 -- I don't know personally, but a look at the list of current fellows might be instructive. ( They're mostly but not entirely from the Ivies although there's a Cambridge in there, and a U of British Columbia.

Fellowship apps tend to take a fair bit of time to put together, but having a fellowship is definitely a plus on your CV. One that allows you time to research and publish is even better. And having a good fellowship package prepped will make it easier for you to apply to other fellowships that come up.

Anonymous said...

What does "Open, but we are looking for a candidate who will complement existing strengths in our dept." mean? Are they looking for someone who is working on the same topics as their current faculty, or different topics? I'm leaning toward the latter (I guess "build on" is the reverse of "complement"), but I think the literal meaning of "complement" can go either way.

zombie said...

I interpret that as meaning, if our department doesn't care at all about post-Kantian continental philosophy, and that's your AOS, this ain't your job. If our department is strong on Philosophy of Mind, and your AOS/AOC is philosophy of mind, come on down.

But yeah, complement could mean "fill in some gaps in our curriculum," or "be someone we could collaborate with on a book." Or it could mean, "we're on a fishing expedition." Given the vagueness, if it's open, apply, but find a way to tell them in your cover letter how you "complement" the strengths of the department.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:10--I read it the opposite of your interpretation, although I agree it is ambiguous. I read it as a statement that the department was trying to build on strengths it already has.

On numbers--I will be applying to 56 jobs (28 in my first AOS, 11 in my 2nd AOS, 17 open), which seems like a lot. Some are real long-shots (either because of the prestige of the school or fit--like jobs where I have the AOS but not the AOC or the preferred AOC). Maybe I'm applying to too many jobs, though--this is my first time on the market, and I'm still trying to figure it out (I only eliminated two jobs, both extremely unappealing VAPs, from those on my list). Is it even worth it to apply to a job with my AOS but not my AOC (or even if I don't have the preferred-but-not-required AOC?). So, for example, if the AOS is Early Modern & the AOC is Ethics, but my AOC is Metaphysics, is it worth it still to apply?

Christopher Hitchcock said...

Anonymous asked:

What does "Open, but we are looking for a candidate who will complement existing strengths in our dept." mean?

It means that you should put in your cover letter: "Gee, you guys are really strong in philosophy of X!".

zombie said...

Anon 12:25 -- it depends on what you mean by "worth it" to apply. In my experience, the closeness of fit with the advertised AOS/AOC was only a modest predictor of my success. Last year, I got interviews at about 10% of the jobs I applied for, which is to say that for most of the jobs where my AOS/AOC was a match, I got nothin'.

I've had several interviews where I thought I was really a long shot for the job. Some were, as you describe, not seemingly perfect fits with my AOS/AOC. Or at least not as they were advertised. In retrospect, even though I did not get those jobs, the interview experience was pretty useful for future reference. Since it's your first year on the market, it would be a good experience for you too.

The other thing I have learned is that what the SC really wants is not always what they advertise for. (Some speculate that the ads may be misleading so as to placate administration demands or some such.) Here's an example. My second year on the market, I got a campus interview for a job that was a perfect fit for my AOS/AOC. It was a replacement hire for someone in my AOS who had retired. It was a location that was highly desirable for me (a city I like, where I have lived before, where I have close friends, etc.). I thought the campus visit went pretty well. It took the SC an incredibly long time to make a decision, even longer to notify applicants. But they ended up hiring someone in a completely different AOS. Not even close to what they had advertised.

So... yeah, go ahead and apply, even if your AOS or AOC are not a perfect fit. The SC may still see something in your dossier that appeals to them. Or not, and they'll toss your file in the bin because it's not what they want.

Anonymous said...

zombie: thanks, that advice was really helpful.

- anon 12:25

Anonymous said...

In other news, the APA website is down.


Anonymous said...

I'm not aware that the schools I've interviewed ever came to the sessions I was in. This has always struck me as odd: the smoker provides an opportunity to learn more about candidates, but so do the research sessions. I mean, aren't the sessions the real reason for the meeting?

This brings up two questions: one, for candidates, have you had similar experience? Two, for committee members, what's your view? Or do you attend, but lurk and never mention it again?

CTS said...

@October 29, 2011 4:29 AM:

Don't know if you are still reading this thread, but my guess is that many SCs don't have time to attend sessions (sadly) and/or that they could not all attend and regarded this as a problem.

Anonymous said...

What, exactly, is the point of this webpage?