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Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Job Application Process Timeline


Your faculty application process SHOULD start at least a month before the AICHE annual conference... and by this, I mean: you should be sending out applications already!

Why? Because, the conference is basically an opportunity for the employers to hold a free face-to-face interview (I have had several of these at the conference, so don't think that I am exaggerating, but also the poster session and the receptions can be considered to be mini-interviews).  Also, the people who sit on the Faculty Search Committee are VERY busy human beings (I know this from personal experience, because I served on one during my first year on the job).  Combine this with the fact that 90% of the 200 applicants will probably send their application 2-3 days before the conference takes place.  So do you think you have a good chance of getting noticed, if you are one of those 0.9*200?  Probably not.  But if you were 1 of 5 who sent their application a month before, sure, we'll read it (thoroughly, mind you) and probably come up to talk to you at the poster session.

If I haven't convinced you yet, consider this:  before the conference there are usually ~10 applications or so for the committee to review.  This is easy enough to do, and the interesting ones will surely get some face-to-face time from the faculty search committee at the conference.  Come the turn of the year (when its time to skype-interview and make decisions about who to invite on-site), the number of applications will be well over 100!  Now, that is a lot of stuff to read, so your application will be skimmed over or not reviewed at all at worst (human tendency is to avoid extra work, and when you feel like you've already identified some good candidates why bother... ).  What I am driving at, is that if the department invites say 7-8 people for an on-site visit (a realistic number), at least 2-3 of those will come from that pool of the initial ~10 applicants who got pre-screened at the conference... so hopefully you understand how critical it is to get started EARLY!

So here is ADVICE #1:  I understand that it takes time to fill out the apps, and customize them to the department (yes, you should be doing that), so pick your top 2-3 schools and send the early application at least to those.  I promise you that this is your best chance of getting noticed (on your own...).

ADVICE #2:  It is better to send few quality applications (customized to the needs of the department, as well as mentioning things like "my research skills fit well with Prof Bob's in your department, and I would also love to collaborate with Professor John, etc") than 20 generic ones.


I have begun a dedicated blog for this topic, and you can find it here:  http://facultycandidate.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-application-packet.html

But briefly:

-RESUME (~4pgs)

http://www.pdfmerge.com/ is useful for putting it all together (cover letter is usually separate from the rest of the packet, though this is university-specific).

ps: make sure to upload your stuff to http://rheneas.eng.buffalo.edu/cache/  This site is separate from AICHE, but we are still encouraging everyone to use it, because it is good!


Of course on Sunday there is the Poster Session:  http://facultycandidate.blogspot.com/2014/10/this-blog-describes-my-many-years-of.html

There are also usually the events below that I recommend you try and attend (disclaimer: I can't update links every year, so keep in mind that these links point to the 2015 conference, and you should look them on your own for the current year)

Workshop: Career Planning for Prospective Faculty (BEFORE the poster session!!)

 Workshop: Effective Teaching for New or Prospective Faculty

NSF Workshop I & II (here you will get a chance to interact with NSF program officers; when I was in your shoes, one of them actually sent a recommendation email for me for a postdoc position at NIST, so take advantage!  Also, one of them features a proposal writing section, which will be useful for you, believe me)


How your job search should continue after the poster session:  http://facultycandidate.blogspot.com/2014/11/at-conference-after-poster-session.html

Education Division Future Faculty Mentoring Meeting
(I think the idea of this one is to pair a candidate with a mentor)


If you spoke with any recruiters or people from departments you are interested in, it would't hurt to drop them a thank you note over email, and remind them that you applied for their position (if you have not done so, apply asap!!).


Finally, take a look at this document which I found to be useful:  http://www2.massgeneral.org/facultydevelopment/orcd/pdf/Panel_Discussion%20M%20Dawson.pdf