Academic Position Search

Where do you want to work?

This seems like a simple question, but the answer is far from simple. If you’re like many students, your first response is, “Wherever they’ll hire me.” That may be true to some extent, but there are a few intermediate questions you need to answer along the way.

Here’s a link to a video that may help with some self-reflection:
Why you need to know yourself before going on the academic job market

  1. At what type of institution do you want to work?
    Once again, a simple question, right? Not so much. Here are some things to consider:
    1. Do you want to work at a small-liberal arts-type institution, or a large, research-focused institution?
    2. Do you want to work at a 4-year or 2-year institution?
    3. What part of the country (or world) do you want to live in?

  2. What type of position do you want?
    1. Tenure track
    2. Non-tenure track*
    3. Post-doc
    4. Research-only

Try to be open to new possibilities and trying something different, whether it’s a different type of institution, or a different part of the country. You may think you’d never fit in, or be happy at a liberal arts school (or a large research institution), but it can’t hurt to apply and interview there. YOU’RE INTERVIEWING THEM AS MUCH AS THEY’RE INTERVIEWING YOU, and just because they offer you a job, it does not mean you have to accept it.

*Non-Tenure Track Faculty Careers in the Sciences and Engineering – Duke University

Some articles with different viewpoints about the importance of location in your positions search:

Academic Position Search

Searching for a faculty position, post-doc position, or any position in academia can be a daunting task, so here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Start with the Chronicle of Higher Education job search page ( This is where you’ll find the most positions posted in one place, both in the United States and abroad. You can search for jobs based on type, location, discipline, etc.

  2. Other higher-education job sites to check out as well:
    AcademicKeys (
    Inside Higher Ed (

    Note: These sites not only offer a general, easily searchable, listing of jobs, but also advice about applying for jobs, being a faculty member, completing your degree, faculty salaries, campus information, etc. Take advantage of these resources.

  3. Search within your discipline.
    Check out trade journals or website of professional societies for your specific discipline. If you’re not aware of where to start searching, ask your advisor or another faculty member in the department. Many of these societies and journals will collect job postings and list them on their websites, and these will be more targeted to your research interests.

  4. The importance of networking
    Take advantage of the travel grants for graduate students offered here at the University of Arkansas and present a poster or paper at a conference in your discipline. Talk to people at different universities, see where they’re doing research you’re interested in and talk to more people. Take business cards and hand them out. Collect business cards. Send follow-up emails. Let everyone that you meet know that you’re looking for a faculty or post-doc position. Sometimes open positions are even posted at the conference. One of the people you meet at the meeting/conference could open the door to your perfect position. For more on the importance of networking, please review the following presentation:

    Networking at Conferences