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Going on the Academic Market: Strategies for Scientists

Going on the Academic Market

Presented By

Presented by Science Alliance


Obtaining a faculty position is more challenging now than it has ever been. With only about 20%–25% of new doctoral graduates ending up in tenure-track appointments, the academic job search has become highly competitive. Thus it is vitally important to have a solid application and to be prepared for the often long and exhausting interview process. Unlike the seemingly more streamlined and faster-paced hiring process in the 'real world', the process in academia is quite demanding and needs to be initiated far in advance.

In terms of your application, it is crucial to learn not only how to craft a strong CV and cover letter, but also how to tailor your documents for each position to highlight your strengths. If your application piques the search committee's interest, you need to be prepared for a multi-faceted and lengthy interview process. You can expect a campus visit to involve back-to-back discussions with faculty members and department heads, and a presentation that can take multiple shapes, either as a formal research seminar, an informal chalk talk on future research plans, and/or a sample teaching lesson. Here, not only is your experience being evaluated but also how well you 'fit' into the department.

With so many things to consider, applying for academic jobs can become overwhelming before you even start. To help navigate this process, Science Alliance hosted "Going on the Academic Market: Strategies for Scientists" on May 10, 2010, at the Academy. Our speaker was Laura Stark Malisheski, PhD, a career counselor at Harvard University, who presented practical information on the essentials: CVs, cover letters, and interviewing for faculty positions.

Use the tab above to find multimedia from this event.


Laura Stark Malisheski, PhD

Office of Career Services, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University
e-mail | web site

Laura Stark Malisheski holds a PhD in neuroscience from Yale University and completed postdoctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania before making a transition to career counseling. She has ten years experience counseling graduate students and PhDs through the challenges of graduate study and into careers, both within and outside academia. Laura specializes in working with those seeking academic faculty positions and those considering career transition beyond academia.

In addition to career counseling, Laura coordinates an extensive line-up of career events for graduate students and presents many career and professional development workshops. She has spoken at numerous professional conferences, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society for Microbiology, and the American Chemical Society and has written career articles for media outlets such as and the Chronicle of Higher Education.