Sorry, I couldn’t resist. What I am actually here to speak about today is why you don’t need “extends.”
What is “extends”? “Extends” is what practically every single one of you says that your research does. You either say that it “extends” the work of so-and-so, or such-and-such a field, OR you say, later in the doc, that your anticipated next project “extends” your dissertation work on blah blah blah.
Seriously, what is it with all this extending? Was Freud right AGAIN?
What I am here to say today is that nobody wants it. We don’t want to hear that your research extends other work, and we certainly don’t want to hear that your next project extends your first project. Why would we, the hiring department, spend good money to get someone whose work is basically derivative or predictable?
Stop it! Just stop it! Stop using that word!
Let me be explicit, so that you understand. Do NOT EVER SAY that your work extends the work of some scholar, set of scholars, or field.
DO NOT EVER SAY that your second project extends your dissertation research.
Please do a universal search of your job docs and if you find this word, take out the entire sentence in which you find it. The sentence, and the thought behind it, is ill-conceived and self-sabotaging on the job market.
Your work may well have been influenced by other work—everyone’s is. This is not newsworthy! In a job doc your dissertation work must be depicted as original, distinctive, and above all, autonomous.
Your second project can of course grow organically out of the concerns of the dissertation project (as I explain in this really good post that I want everyone to click through to: “Why You Need a Second Project“). But again, it must be original, distinctive, and autonomous. Nobody wants a one-trick pony.
This is an easy problem to fix because it really comes down to this one word. Eradicate it, and eradicate the thinking behind it.* You are an autonomous thinker and scholar and your work stands on its own merits, and makes its own independent contribution to the field.
*No, I’m wrong. It’s just as bad when it’s in any form of the word “continue.” Ie, “the new project is a continuation of my dissertation research”; “this project continues my dissertation focus”; etc. Eradicate that as well.