Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? Topic vs. Contribution

When writing job letters clients often struggle to understand the distinction between their dissertation TOPIC and their dissertation CONTRIBUTION.  In the first dissertation paragraph you talk about the content of your dissertation–main argument, methodology, findings.  In the second paragraph you … Continue reading

Teaching: Not When and Where but What and How

When discussing teaching in the teaching paragraph of your letter, one of the temptations is to tell a chronological tale of how you taught as an adjunct here and an adjunct there, and taught this class in Fall 2012 and … Continue reading

The Postdoc App: How It’s Different and Why

  For the next few months I will be posting the “best of the best” Professor is in blog posts on the job market, for the benefit of all those girding their loins for the 2013-2014 market.  Today’s post was … Continue reading

Gerund Addiction and Word Repetition–Two More Scourges

Faithful readers know that I have several posts on different kinds of writing tics that plague many academic writers.  These include list addiction, dyad addiction, and cheap adjectives. There are two more writing tics that I’ve come to identify: gerund … Continue reading

The Weepy Teaching Statement: Just Say No

A while back I wrote a post called “The Worst Job Letter Ever Written (Not Really).”  Today I want to share with you a similarly awful teaching statement (with kind permission of the writer, discipline obscured.)  I don’t call it … Continue reading

Banish These Words

Do not use the words “unique” or “burgeoning” in any of your job documents. They are painfully overused. The first is just trite. The second is over-dramatic.   That is all. … Continue reading

Damning Yourself With Faint Praise–Teaching Edition

For some reason people love to include undergraduate student feedback in the teaching paragraph of their job letters, and that feedback usually looks like this (from an actual letter): “Former students have consistently told me that I give helpful feedback … Continue reading

What the Heck is “Assessment”? (A Guest Post)

Today’s post is a Guest Post from a faithful reader and client on the tenure track, and also on the job market, who discovered some interesting points about “assessment” while she was at some interviews this year.  More and more … Continue reading

How to Plan Your Research and Writing Trajectory on the Tenure Track

This is a re-post of a column originally posted on August 11, 2011.  As the 2011-2012 job market winds down, and various readers and clients look ahead to the new jobs they are starting in the fall, I want you … Continue reading