Academic Job Applications: A Spiraling, Endlessly Recursive Process?
December 31, 2010 12:29 PM Subscribe
How to streamline working on academic job applications?
posted by speicus to Work & Money (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a recent graduate applying to various faculty openings in the United States. I have about 10 applications I'd like to finish in the next month or so. I know this isn't much in the grand scheme of things, but I'm still somewhat overwhelmed by the prospect. Have you, dearest hivemind, found any ways to streamline the process of working on applications and cut down on the seemingly inevitable, endless timesuck?
I have a general cover letter, teaching philosophy statement, CV and other materials from applications I sent out in November and December, but each individual application of course requires a significant amount of tweaking. That last round took up a lot of time and mental energy, more than I anticipated, and I feel like I'm not working on it in the most efficient way. It also took a lot of time away from other projects I desperately need to work on (and actually enjoy working on), so I'm hoping to shift that balance a bit.
I admit there's a psychological aspect to it, in that I find this kind of work emotionally exhausting. While I'm a decent writer, trying to advertise for myself in this context doesn't come naturally to me, and it tends to make me tense and anxious. Another tricky bit is that the applications I'm most invested in -- i.e. the universities or positions that are most interesting to me -- are the ones that take the most time to work on, so I end up sending them later and closer to the deadline, which I know is counterproductive. I'd like to short-circuit that pattern if possible.
My dream would be some sort of program that would allow me to tag different parts of my cover letter and CV, and then spit out customized cover letters and CVs depending on what tags I prioritize. But this probably wouldn't generate good materials anyway.
More realistically, if you've been through this process I'm interested in any methods, systems, tricks etc. that you've tried that have helped you along the way. I'd love to hear little secrets, grand schemes or anything in between. To be clear, I'm interested mostly in things specific to this situation, and not as interested in general productivity schemes like GTD or Pomodoro (though I do find Pomodoro-ing helpful).
Thanks in advance!