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Don’t miss our Academic Careers in the USA Event – 5pm Monday 20th May

SophiaDonaldson14 May 2019

We often get asked (by you) about getting into academia in the US, so we’re shipping in a real expert to give you the lowdown. After spending 15 years as a tenured professor, department head, and university advisor, Karen is now an academic careers coach. Join us at the below event to get the benefit of her advice! Sign up via the links below.

‘Hacking the Job Market’: Academic Careers in USA

Lucas Lecture Theatre Strand Building KCL

Mon 20 May 2019, 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Sign up here: https://uclcareers.targetconnect.net/leap/event.html?id=3273&service=Careers+Service

Dr Karen Kelsky, author of The Professor is in will speak about the current American academic job market and offer tips for getting on to the much coveted tenure track. The event will begin with an interactive session by Kellee Weinhold (strategic communications and academic productivity coach for the Professor is In).

5.00pm- 6.00pm – Acing academic interviews

Kellee will move through standard interview questions, explaining common errors and weaknesses and providing examples of effective answers with attention to brevity, spin, word choice, tone, body language, and more in an interactive session

6.00pm-7.30pm – The US job market and how to hack it

Karen will walk you through the conditions of the current American job market, the most common mistakes made by job-seekers, and the ways you can maximize your chances of success while looking for a tenure-track job in a lecture style session.

Karen will cover:

-The big-picture conditions of the U.S. tenure track job market

-How to think like a search committee

-The four core qualities of a successful tenure track job candidate

-The all-important 5-Year Plan

-The ethos of job market documents

-The most common mistakes made by job seekers

-The three keys to academic interviewing

-The non-academic option

Karen also examines the pervasive intangible pitfalls that can bedevil job documents and interviewing, including narcissism, excessive humility, and hyper-emotionalism. You’ll leave with a broad understanding of the real (as opposed to fantasy) criteria of tenure track hiring, and how to tailor your record and application materials to maximize your chances of success. Finally, she will also touch on the current political situation and outlooks for US academia.

Sign up here: https://uclcareers.targetconnect.net/leap/event.html?id=3273&service=Careers+Service

Dr Karen Kelsky told us how to get tenure in the US

SophiaDonaldson24 May 2017

USA

Last week Dr Karen Kelsky, tenured professor turned careers guru and author of The Professor is in, spoke to our researchers about how to hack the US academic job market. She focused specifically on US ‘tenure-track’ positions, which involve a few years of teaching and research, and then guarantee you consideration for a permanent academic appointment. However, most of her advice was applicable to post-doc roles too. If you couldn’t make it along, here’s a summary of the take-home points:

– The market is tough. In case anyone is under any illusions, the US is not an easy alternative to the UK. Karen told us the US produces ~60,000 PhDs a year, and a tenure-track opening may attract 200-1000 applications. Just like here, the majority of US PhDs end up leaving academia.

– The Academic Search Committee are more overworked than you are. The academics sifting through applications are even busier than you are, so Karen estimated they give only ~2 minutes of attention to each tenure-track application. Better make the good stuff easy to find!

– Know the institution. Karen talked us through US university types – from Ivy League to Community College – and it’s certainly a more complex system than ours. But just as in the UK, when looking at lectureship positions, institution-type influences the pay and teaching/research load. Make sure you’re applying for a role that suits you, and you’re emphasising the right things in your applications. The Fulbright Commission and good old Wikipedia will give you an idea of US university types.

– Stop thinking of yourself as a student. Karen was very firm on this. When looking to hire new lecturers the search committee are looking for a new peer, not a student. Present yourself as a peer, and have references from people who can speak about you as a peer. Start now. Network with as many people as possible, at conferences and via social media, sharing your outputs and your ideas. Like what? Like a peer.

– Have a 5-year plan. A future focus in your applications, with a specific and detailed plan, will help recruiters see what an asset you’ll be to their department. And once you’re on the tenure track, sticking to a clear plan will help you meet the tough plublication criteria that qualifies you for tenure.

– Brits babble on (and other nationalities are too blunt): For a US audience, Karen says we Brits are way too wordy. Don’t write a cover letter that reads like a Hugh Grant script. Present the facts, and get to the point. Karen also mentioned some nationalities write so bluntly it appears arrogant…even to a US audience whom many perceive as unashamed self-promoters! To check how you’re coming across, book a researcher one-to-one appointment to discuss your application documents.

– (Almost) always negotiate. Once you’ve been offered a position, in the US there’s far more room to negotiate your pay and conditions than here. Karen outlines some rare cases where it may not be appropriate in her book, but for the most part, negotiate away.

For more useful tips for getting ahead in academia check out Karen’s blog and book, as well as our UK-centred schedule of academic careers workshops, covering career planning, applications, and interviews.