Category: Guides to Academia

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We Regret to Inform You: On Interview Feedback

Interview feedback is difficult to approach, both giving and receiving. As someone who has more often been on the receiving end, I’ve found directly helpful feedback to be the exception rather than the rule. So, this post is about how to interpret feedback which might not tell you as much as you want. For me, there are three phases to thinking about the interview after the event.   1.  Be honest with yourself When you come out of the interview, after you’ve taken a few deep breaths / had a shower / got home and had a stiff...

9

The Twilight Zone: After the PhD, Before the Academic Job

You’re close to submitting your PhD, to passing your viva voce examination with flying colours, and to be awarded your doctorate. At various stages in these final months of your existence as a PhD student certain scary thoughts – of the practical kind – enter your mind repeatedly and persistently. When will my university email account be closed? Should I be emailing academic colleagues from my embarrassingly named non-institutional email account? How will I keep researching and writing without physical or online access to my university library and its resources? How will I stand a chance on the...

20

Academic Job Interviews

Academic job interviews can take a variety of forms, and I’ve experienced a few different kinds of job interview – both from the perspective of a candidate, as well as from the perspective of a member of the interview panel. As with any public speaking engagement, preparation is essential and managing your nerves on the day is a challenge. I found that the interviews I attended after I’d started teaching in a full-time position were much less nerve-wracking, so if you’ve already had teaching experience and got over the initial horror of having to stand in a lecture...

4

Academic Job Applications

It is notoriously difficult to advise people on how to get shortlisted for an academic job. In the end, someone can satisfy all of the relevant criteria but not get shortlisted simply because someone else satisfies them to a greater degree. The reality is that not all ‘minimally qualified’ candidates can be interviewed; this is simply a matter of practicality, and of course it is frustrating for applicants who fall into the ‘not qualified enough’ category. However, more frustrating is not getting shortlisted because you simply haven’t put together a good application. There is nothing you can really...

15

Fail Better: Surviving the Slings & Arrows of Academic Fortune

Academia often seems filled to brimming with misanthropy merchants, doom prognosticators and naysayers. It is true, however, that we do have to deal with an unusually high degree of scrutiny, evaluation and appraisal in our professional lives. This can take a toll on even the most Polyanna-ish of characters. It is a tough gig, and I won’t bore you with the statistics over acceptance rates at the best journals or post-doctoral fellowships. What I will say is that you quite quickly have to begin to use your experiences in academia in a positive light, or else it will...

13

The Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Unless you’ve been asleep in the library for the past few years, you’ll almost certainly have heard about the REF (Research Excellence Framework); but you might be less aware of exactly what it is, how it affects you as a researcher, and what you need to do to prepare. In this post I’ll highlight the key points about the REF and indicate some sources of further information.   WHAT IS THE REF? The REF is the new system for assessing the quality of research in Higher Education institutions in the UK (previously RAE). It’s used to determine funding...

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