Tips for an Effective Vita and Tenure-Track Job Interview

  1. Wear a suit. The more professional you look, the more you communicate desire to work with us.
  2. Tell a STORY about your educational history. Why did you attend particular MA and PhD programs? With whom did you work? What role did PLACE/city/community play in the development of your education and research?
  3. Know your audience! Reference specific studies of scholars in the department and note how your work is complementary.
  4. Use specific examples to illustrate approaches to instruction. You’re looking to “wow” the personnel committee with innovative teaching practices. Discuss SPECIFIC assignments, learning objectives, and student learning outcomes. Your goal is to make committee members say, “What a brilliant idea! Why haven’t I thought of that?” You don’t earn points for interviewers thinking, “Oh, THAT old thing. EVERYONE does THAT.”
  5. Familiarize yourself with the department’s curriculum. If you don’t know what we teach, we assume you haven’t researched the department and aren’t taking us seriously.
  6. Don’t talk about diversity in abstract terms. Perform a Wikipedia search and mention specifics about our student population. Mention unambiguous tactics you have used to promote racial, sexual, ethnic, class, and age diversity.
  7. Be descriptive but concise. Whatever you do, don’t ramble. You should rehearse answers to commonly asked questions. But don’t come off as rehearsed.
  8. In case it’s not already obvious, SPECIFIC usually trumps abstract in an interview. Concrete examples are memorable. Philosophical discussions may be fun but they do not necessarily make committee remember you after seven hours of interviews.

Tips for a Professional CV

  1. Avoid fluff. Filler is actually worse than a shorter vita. Judging at a debate tournament is not vita-worthy activity, neither is your YouTube channel or blog, unless those forms of social media have earned accolades.
  2. Organize your research area, otherwise you look like you’re padding. Utilize subheadings, like “peer-reviewed research,” “book chapters,” “conference proceedings,” “book reviews,” “works under review,” etc. It’s ok if only one entry exists under a heading.
  3. Use full citations. Book chapters, for instance, should include page numbers. If you don’t include page numbers, I may assume you only contributed a single page.
  4. If you’ve published in a journal that members of a personnel committee might find obscure, include information about the publication, such as acceptance rate and impact factor. Don’t make people reviewing your CV track down that information. Making a person decode/translate information on your vita is not the way to make a good first impression.
  5. Do your best to note the IMPACT of your research but only mention noteworthy implications, like article awards, book reviews, high citation numbers, etc.
  6. If you include quantitative information about student evaluations and your evaluations aren’t significantly above average, make sure you note department means.
  7. If you’re applying for a job for which research is expected, start the vita with education, then research, then teaching, then service.
  8. Under conference presentations, mention the specific divisions in which you’ve presented.
  9. Use subheadings to distinguish between forms of service, like “departmental service,” “college and university service,” “national and regional organizations,” “journals,” “community service,” etc.
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