Buy My Book!

Love the blog? Now get it in handy book form–only $11.40!  Available for pre-order now–comes out August 4!


Buy it at all these places!

indiebound-button-graphicamazon-button-graphicbn-button-graphic target_retailer googlebooks-button-graphic New iBooks Badge - 11 12

It also makes a great gift for all those struggling grad students in your life!

For bulk orders for use in classes, seminars, and workshops, please call Crown Publishing  (Random House) Customer Service at 1-800-733-3000.


The definitive career guide for grad students, adjuncts, post-docs and anyone else eager to get tenure or turn their Ph.D.  into their ideal job

Each year tens of thousands of students will, after years of hard work and enormous amounts of money, earn their Ph.D. And each year only a small percentage of them will land a job that justifies and rewards their investment. For every comfortably tenured professor or well-paid former academic, there are countless underpaid and overworked adjuncts, and many more who simply give up in frustration.

Those who do make it share an important asset that separates them from the pack: they have a plan. They understand exactly what they need to do to set themselves up for success.  They know what really moves the needle in academic job searches, how to avoid the all-too-common mistakes that sink so many of their peers, and how to decide when to point their Ph.D. toward other, non-academic options.

Karen Kelsky has made it her mission to help readers join the select few who get the most out of their Ph.D. As a former tenured professor and department head who oversaw numerous academic job searches, she knows from experience exactly what gets an academic applicant a job. And as the creator of the popular and widely respected advice site The Professor is In, she has helped countless Ph.D.’s turn themselves into stronger applicants and land their dream careers.

Now, for the first time ever, Karen has poured all her best advice into a single handy guide that addresses the most important issues facing any Ph.D., including:

-When, where, and what to publish
-Writing a foolproof grant application
-Cultivating references and crafting the perfect CV
-Acing the job talk and campus interview
-Avoiding the adjunct trap
-Making the leap to nonacademic work, when the time is right

The Professor Is In addresses all of these issues, and many more.

“If you would like your academic career to begin in delusion and end in disillusionment, then by all means, ignore Karen Kelsky. If, however, you want unvarnished straight talk about the academic job market—and how to navigate it—then heed her, and heed her now.” —Rebecca Schuman, education columnist for Slate

“Karen Kelsky tells the disheartening truth about the difficulties of getting through graduate school and finding a tenure-track job in a funny, irreverant, and ultimately encouraging way. Getting a job is about more than being smart; read this book if you want to be prepared, professional, and on your game.
-Elizabeth Reis, Professor and Chair, Women’s and Gender Studies Department, University of Oregon

“There’s no one way to guarantee that you get a job in academia, but there’s a thousand ways to lose one. In this book, Karen Kelsky levels the playing field, providing practical insider knowledge to demystify the job market and help you improve the odds“. – David M. Perry, Director of Undergraduate Research, Dominican University

I’m so pleased with the accessible price of the book, and the speed of production.  It will be out August 4, 2015, just in time for the Fall 2015 job market.

Table of Contents

(About half of the book is material adapted from the blog, and half is new material.  Notice that the entire last section is devoted to the post-ac transition!)

Part I:  Dark Times in the Academy

Chapter One:  The End of an Era
Chapter Two:  Breaking Out of the Ivory Tower
Chapter Three: The Myths Grad Students Believe

Part II:  Getting Your Head in the Game

Chapter Four: The Tenure Track Job Search Explained
Chapter Five:  Stop Acting Like a Grad Student
Chapter Six:  The Attributes of Successful Tenure Track Candidates
Chapter Seven:  Building a Competitive Record
Chapter Eight: Your Campaign Platform
Chapter Nine:  Why They Want to Reject You
Chapter Ten:  When To Go on the Market and How Long to Try
Chapter Eleven:  Where Are the Jobs? Institution Types and Ranks
Chapter Twelve:  Where to Find Reliable Advice
Chapter Thirteen: Why ‘Yourself’ Is The Last Person You Should Be

Part III:  The Nuts and Bolts of a Competitive Record   

Chapter Fourteen: Take Control of Your CV
Chapter Fifteen:  Getting Teaching Experience
Chapter Sixteen:  Publish This, Not That
Chapter Seventeen:  Why You Want and Need Grants
Chapter Eighteen:  Cultivating Your References
Chapter Nineteen:  Applying to Conferences
Chapter Twenty:  How to Work the Conference

Part IV:  Job Documents That Work

Chapter Twenty-one:  The Academic Skepticism Principle
Chapter Twenty-two:  What’s Wrong With Your Cover Letter
Chapter Twenty-three:  Tailoring With Dignity
Chapter Twenty-four:  Rules of the Academic CV
Chapter Twenty-five:  Just Say No to the Weepy Teaching Statement
Chapter Twenty-six:  Evidence of Teaching Effectiveness
Chapter Twenty-seven:  The Research Statement
Chapter Twenty-eight:  What Is a Diversity Statement, Anyway?
Chapter Twenty-nine:  The Dissertation Abstract

Part V:  Techniques of the Academic Interview

Chapter Thirty:  Academic Job Interview Basics
Chapter Thirty-one: The Key Questions in an Academic Interview
Chapter Thirty-two:  The Conference Interview (including Phone and Skype)
Chapter Thirty-three:  The Campus Visit
Chapter Thirty-four: The Job Talk
Chapter Thirty-five:  The Teaching Demo
Chapter Thirty-six:  How To Talk to the Dean
Chapter Thirty-seven:  They Said What? Handling Outrageous Questions
Chapter Thirty-eight:  Waiting, Wondering, Wiki

Part VI:  Navigating the Job Market Minefield

Chapter Thirty-nine:  Good Job Candidates Gone Bad
Chapter Forty:  Fear of the Inside Candidate
Chapter Forty-one:  Wrangling Recalcitrant References
Chapter Forty-two:  Managing Your Online Presence
Chapter Forty-three:  Evaluating Campus Climate
Chapter Forty-four:  When You Feel Like You Don’t Belong….
Chapter Forty-five:  What If You’re Pregnant?
Chapter Forty-six:  What Not To Wear
Chapter Forty-seven:  Covering the Costs

Part VII:  Negotiating an Offer

Chapter Forty-eight:  Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
Chapter Forty-nine:  The Rare and Elusive Spousal Offer
Chapter Fifty:  The Rescinded Offer–Who Is In the Wrong?

Part VIII:  Grants and Postdocs

Chapter Fifty-one:  The Foolproof Grant Template
Chapter Fifty-two:  Proving Your Project is Worthy
Chapter Fifty-three:  The Postdoc Application: How It’s Different and Why
Chapter Fifty-four:  The Good and the Bad of Postdocs

Part IX:  Some Advice About Advisors

Chapter Fifty-five: Best Advisors, Worst Advisors
Chapter Fifty-six:  A Good Advisor Is Not Nice
Chapter Fifty-seven:  Ph.D. Debt and Ethical Advising

Part X:  Leaving the Cult

Chapter Fifty-eight:  It’s OK to Quit
Chapter Fifty-nine:  Let Yourself Dream
Chapter Sixty:  100+ Skills That Translate Outside the Academy
Chapter Sixty-one:   Collecting Information
Chapter Sixty-two:  Applying While Ph.D.
Chapter Sixty-three:  Breaking Free: The Path of the Entrepreneur

Conclusion: Declaring Independence

I can’t wait for it to come out!

My partner Kellee asked me yesterday if I was this excited about my first book, my ethnographic monograph for tenure (Women on the Verge: Japanese Women, Western Dreams, Duke University Press).  I had to think about that.  I finally said, “No, I was not.  I was excited, but not this excited. Because this book I did entirely by myself.  There was no infrastructure of graduate school and advisor and dissertation to lay out the path.  This book I created from whole cloth.”

And I’m also excited because this book will help so many.  What does a monograph do? I’m still not entirely sure.  But this book, this book has a mission.  To get you ready for the job market, yes.  But more importantly, to empower all graduate students and Ph.D. job seekers to understand the unspoken rules about how academy works, make informed choices about your careers, and protect your financial security and mental health.

Similar Posts:


Buy My Book! — 20 Comments

  1. Nice! I hope you left hard lessons as is. If I weren’t already in the industry I would buy this right away. But who knows, perhaps I’ll but it nonetheless as I enjoy your writing.

  2. As a mid-career PhD student (who still questions why she left that high-paying corporate job to become an academic), I can only say “THANK YOU” for writing a book with information I’ve been banging my head against the wall to learn during this 2.5 year chapter in my life. My only gripe – I can’t put my hands on this book NOW… comprehensives up coming up in the next 6 months and I’m bloody terrified of not having my act together for what happens next. But thank you, thank you, thank you for being a voice of reason in the wilderness!

  3. hello professor,

    I am a recent follower and I appreciate your effort in advising students especially for those who seek for more professional manner of presenting oneself into the real world… 🙂

    Best Regards,
    Ebigya Neupane

  4. Hi professor,
    I wonder if it is possible to create a kindle version for this book? I’m very interested to read this book but I’m living in the UK. So I would really appreciate it if you could sold this book in amazon UK.
    Kind regards,

  5. Pingback: Are Academic Businesses Low-hanging Fruit? Horton #postac Post | The Professor Is In

  6. Hello! I’m a 2nd year and really interested in this book as I’m contemplating my long-term goals and making sure I get the most out of my time now to reach them. I am, however, fairly sure that I will be looking outside of academia at the end of all this (likely after a post-doc, of course). Would you say there is enough in the book to assist me in that direction, or it is mainly aimed at academic postings? Thank you!

    • The bulk of it is on academic postings, but people seem to find it very useful in terms of helping you take charge of your TOTAL profile (including all of your academic achievements) and harnessing them for the job search, both ac and post-ac.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.