Back to my home page.

As a companion to my college and graduate school advice pages, I decided to write one for job applicants as well. This comes from my own experience as an applicant, search committee member, and search committee chair. Some of this advice is probably specific to finding a tenure-track math job at a small university that values teaching, but much of it should apply more generally.

First, how do you decide where to apply? Ok, now what do you do? What should you not do? Yes, I really have seen every one of these. How does the process work? Finally, here's perhaps the toughest but most important thing to realize. You can be a great fit for a job, bond well with the department, and nail every aspect of the on-campus interview, only to have someone else do the same. No matter how much the department wants to hire both stellar candidates who would each add a unique dimension to the program, they can only hire one. I had an interview once where I could not believe that I was not subsequently offered the job. It wasn't until I chaired a search 10 years later that I truly understood how it can happen. In the end, there can be only one (but at least you get to keep your head!).