Job applications

Although I kept hearing from friends and elders that applying for jobs was going to take the best of my time from November on, I silently acquiesced and thought I new better: how could it be so bad?

  • CV: couple hours,
  • Teaching Statement: same (if not less),
  • Research Statement: couple days at most,
  • Applying: the night of the deadline.
  • Total: 3-4 days, tops.

Well, I was wrong 🙂 It’s my turn, and I already lost track of the time spent writing my materials (only the version number is there to tell its story: ResearchStatement16d.tex,TeachingStatement7.tex,…) and researching online postings.

Given how efficient I’ve been at it I’ll refrain from giving out unsolicited advice.

Ok, well, here we go: start early and get feedback. You can’t imagine how bad your first research statement will be, as much as you’re proud of it. The most important thing is not to spend large contiguous amounts of time writing, but rather to have enough time ahead to write, pause, read, delete, and repeat. I found it most useful to take breaks of 3-4 days, after which I was systematically horrified at my previous production (which is why I do not dare open my materials again, now that they’ve for the most part been submitted). Time is also useful to allow for feedback. Any source, from adviser to fellow student or little sister, will be helpful: the main point is that even random comments can help get out of local optima.

In case this helps anyone, in terms of announcements I found the CRA jobs website most helpful, as it has the most comprehensive list of announcements while remaining focused on computer science. Beware that not all universities announce their positions there though, so it is still useful to search around and check out individual departments’ websites. AcademicJobsOnline, in spite of its uninviting name and somewhat limited selection, had a few exclusives that I almost missed out on. The CCI website also has a few announcements, though mostly for postdocs.

Going through tens of announcements for Assistant Professor positions in CS, it seemed like the market would be a decent one this year (not that I have so much experience on the topic). Most research universities seem to have anywhere between one and three positions open for assistant professor in computer science, which I would rate as pretty high. The winds are especially favorable if you’re into “Big Data” or “Security“: my unscientific sampling indicates these are by far the specialities in highest demand. Too bad 🙂

And this is only the beginning — hopefully some day soon I’ll be able to talk about my experience with interviews. In the meantime, good luck everyone!

About Thomas

I am a professor in the department of Computing and Mathematical Sciences (CMS) at the California Institute of Technology, where I am also a member of the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM). My research is in quantum complexity theory and cryptography.
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2 Responses to Job applications

  1. Guillaume says:

    Looking forward for the post-interview post !

  2. Shehab says:

    Would love to hear about the interview experience.

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