Identifying Employment Opportunities in Academia

Academic hiring is changing

As I neared the end of my PhD I was provided with the opportunity to talk to someone in academia over coffee about how I find jobs in academia. I was told to look at newspapers as they often have an academic job listing. Unfortunately, as I found out, this is no longer a thing. Academia has moved with the times and has shifted from newspaper advertising to, primarily, online hiring.

Finding jobs on university websites

Almost every university has a hiring portal on their website. A place where you can create a job search strategy, save the search, and receive emailed notifications of new jobs. This is fantastic and should definitely be your first port of call. However, if my experience is any flavour of normal, then this is not quite the best way to find work.

At the time of writing this, I am spending my first morning in Melbourne after relocating from Sydney for my first full time academic job. However, I did not find this job advertised on the employers website. Rather, it was advertised only on LinkedIn.

Finding jobs on recruitment websites

OK, so LinkedIn technically isn’t a recruitment website, but it does offer that kind of functionality. There are a lot of academic jobs on websites such as Seek, Jora, Indeed (or whatever online work recruitment websites your country uses), as well as the infamous LinkedIn. Just like university websites, you can set up a search strategy and have new results emailed to you. One of the major advantages of this is that you get access to university, institutional, and industry job offerings that you might not have found in job listings on university websites. The catch, however, is that not all jobs in academia make it to these websites, some are kept exclusively on the institution’s website. Never put all your eggs in one basket.

Most jobs are not advertised – Network at conferences and social events

Having said all of this, I was once told that (averaged across all work forces) 80% of jobs are not advertised at all, and that they are found through networking and communicating. Conferences and academic social events (such as departmental meetings) can serve as a great way to scope out if anyone you know might be looking for work and to jump in and grab it before it is advertised. However, some jobs (particularly permanent full-time jobs) often have to be advertised as a matter of university policy.

~ Chris Kilby

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