Applying for an academic job is serious work. I ended up lucky (though, luck favors the prepared (Louis Pasteur)). I received two job offers this season and took my first-choice job. But I worked hard to get those offers. I kept a detailed CV my entire student career (starting as a BA student, not waiting until job season to start), wrote an extensive teaching dossier for the 20 courses I’ve taught and ugrad tutoring experience, and developed a research statement as that vision became clearer to me. Clearly, self-investment and personal excellence are the most important ingredients. Next is to find people who want to hire you.
Two sites and one magazine basically covers the bases for statistics.
1. If you’re a statistics student, you’re already a member of the ASA, right? If so, the back of the AmStat News magazine has many jobs listed.
2. Many jobs are posted at the American Statistical Association (ASA) jobs website. Subscribe to their feed in your RSS reader:
While I have had my CV posted on the site for years, I’ve never received any contact because of it. I think the more direct approach of networking or replying to specific jobs is more effective.
3. The University of Florida statistics website lists many jobs, too. My impression is that this site is even more comprehensive than jobs.amstat sometimes.
I recommend being subscribed to the jobs.amstat.org in your RSS reader, because then most of the jobs will come to you. You can follow-up at the UFlorida website to make sure you’re not missing anything. Start looking in Sept/Oct and work on cover letters through Nov/Dec for the Dec/Jan/Feb deadlines. Ask for letters of recommendation early (maybe even late summer while your professors are not busy with the semester). Ask your advisor to look over your CV, cover letter, and other submission materials (scan a pdf of your unofficial transcript). They’ve reviewed many applications hiring in their department before and will have good advice. Send your application materials (all in pdf format — not doc!) as soon as you are ready to help yours be near the top of their review pile. And while your application is in the hands of many hiring committees, try not to sweat — you’ve done all you can and it’s largely out of your control until they ask for an interview (or send you a form rejection letter, or never respond to you at all). Feel free to send a follow-up email to request status if it’s a week or so after their self-predicted decision deadline, if it will help calm your nerves, but try not to hassle them. It’s a very challenging market and positions regularly get 80-300 applications, so everything you can do to rise to the top of that deep stack can make the difference between getting a toe in the door and the alternative.
Interviewing is next step. Here are some pages with questions to prepare for. Write your questions down just as you’d say them and practice saying them aloud, maybe to a friend who will listen. You want to clarify your answers to yourself and get them to flow smoothly out of your mouth.
10 tough interview questions
The job talk is the last step.
LaTeX’s beamer package is very good (remove all the extra buttons, and reduce headers and footers to a minimum). Mac’s iWork Keynote is one of the best presentation packages.
BBP was a great resource, provided you can ignore all the MSPP BS. First five slides. Template. Video.
Matt Might’s presentation tips and job hunt advice.
Negotiating for your salary, start-up, teaching reduction, and more — ask your advisor for advice. If you have a second offer, all of this becomes much, much easier!