How Can I Help? Interviews, Campus Visits, and Negotiating edition

I have a lot on my mind right now regarding the impact of Trump on academic life.  Kellee and I ran a free Academic Life Under Trump webinar a couple days ago, and it was good to open space for a conversation about the anxieties and uncertainties and fears this unthinkable situation ahs engendered. I am working up to a blog post on it, but not yet.  It’s still too much; I’m not at the state of coherence yet. I am at the state of resistance, however: I’ve done every form of resistance I can find, including protesting at the Oregon state capitol today, and calling representatives almost daily (about each new outrage). I urge all of you to do what you can: we must resist, and never normalize.

For now, though…

Occasionally I use the weekly blog post to tell you about services and events.  Today is that day for 2016, as we transition from the season of initial review, into the season of interviews, campus visits, and negotiating.

I’m excited to announce an upcoming:

*Live Job Market Twitter chat

My first Twitter chat, on Interviewing, will be January 3 at 11 AM EST.  Use the hashtag #TPIICHAT for live Twitter Q and A on anything you want to know about interviews and campus visits.  Find me at @professorisin

I continue to offer all my regular help for this stage of the job market.  The Interview Intervention, Campus Visit, and Negotiating Webinars ($50) are very helpful; these are offered live on an ongoing basis; we just finished a Winter Webinar Blast, but never fear, they will come again from early January.  The first one is Kellee Weinhold’s Winter Productivity Kickstart and Strategy Session on January 2 at 3 PM EST.

Check this Webinars page for currently scheduled dates. They are also always available in recorded version here at The Prof Shop.

I also edit Job Talks. And wow, do they need it.  As Kellee told last week’s Job Talk Webinar folks, next to cover letters, Job Talks are the genre of client writing that needs the most intensive intervention.  I know that seems unlikely—after all, don’t we all know how to give a research talk by the end of our doctoral studies?  Well, turns out, no, we don’t, not when it’s in the context of a campus visit, for an audience who has never heard your research before.   The Job Talk is a tricky, tricky genre that has to combine an accessible and relatively simple opening with a sophisticated argument, a perfect balance of examples and analysis, and a fine command of pacing, tone, and visuals.  Job Talks are 2 hours of work for two drafts of edits, at $150/hour.  If on a rush basis, a special reduced rush fee of $100 is added.

Any time, you can schedule a live Interview Intervention and/or Job Talk Strategy Session. These are both 50-minute Skype appointments with TPII colleague Kellee Weinhold, who specializes in communications and presentation. (Read more about Kellee here). The former is an intensive mock-interview,  the latter is a practice Job Talk.  The cost for each is $250.

For the Interview Intervention, Kellee takes you through a set of 6 basic interview questions (several of these are described in my blog post, The #Facepalm Fails of the Academic Interview) in a mock interview, stopping after each question to evaluate every answer for its strengths and weaknesses in terms of brevity, spin, word choice, tone, body language, etc., and refining it for effectiveness.  For some basic questions, you may repeat your response 2-3 times until perfect.  It’s grueling, but very effective.   Read some of the testimonials on the Testimonials page to learn more.

For the Job Talk Strategy Session you two plan out your Job Talk, focusing on an organization for the most important sections–the opening, the meat of the research, and the contribution/conclusion.  Kellee helps you to match your content to the job at hand, and provides an evaluation of your organization, approach, balance of theory and data, wording, body language, speech patterns, effectiveness of visuals, etc., with particular attention to the effectiveness of the talk for the particular job.

Both kinds of Skype Interventions are currently scheduled through an on-line calendar: Please go here to schedule.  (If you don’t see a time that works, email Kellee at to inquire).

Last, should you score that coveted tenure track offer, I offer Negotiating Assistance. Negotiating Assistance is $500/first week ($600 tenured/senior rate), and a week is virtually always sufficient (it goes down to $400, and then $300 for subsequent weeks in the extremely rare event that this is necessary).  I count the week as 7 days of work, and they don’t have to be sequential.  We can start immediately, and I make myself available by email and gchat for the quick turnaround of responses required by most negotiations.  While I technically don’t work on weekends and holidays, for NA clients only I check in to keep up with and respond to urgent updates. I assist you in evaluating the offer, clarifying your requests, crafting email and verbal communications, interpreting responses, and knowing how hard to push and when to stop. Most clients increase their offer by thousands of dollars in salary, research support, travel support, moving expenses, etc.

For a client perspective, I will share a few recent testimonials:

Assistant professor R1 Social Sciences: I increased my offer by $12,000 conservatively. Another major benefit was that I was confident I wasn’t asking for anything crazy, and I wasn’t missing anything obvious. Since this was my first go-around with a U.S. job offer I would have been much more uncertain about it, particularly in my situation where my advisor was unavailable due to a medical condition. Particularly when I had done the interviews and was waiting for an offer, which is a tense time, the fact that I had this service helped make that easier.”

Associate professor with tenure, R1, Humanities:   “As a mid-career academic in the humanities, I knew exactly how important it would be to negotiate good terms for my new position. Karen provided me with: concrete examples of things I could negotiate for; a sounding board for my requests; assistance in clarifying and rewriting my negotiation emails; and overall, tremendous peace of mind in what would otherwise have been an extremely stressful process. I successfully negotiated increases in my salary, start up package, and travel support, totalling 11K. I highly recommend her negotiation assistance services, no matter what career stage you’re in.”

Assistant professor, SLAC, Social Sciences:  “When I got the job offer, I was so terrified to negotiate, specifically for the delayed start date.  I felt a bit lost, and then I went to a yoga class and on the wall was a quotation from Cheryl Strayed which said, ‘The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of it.’  It was at that time, I knew I should contact you and just get one-to-one help with the negotiation so that I could advocate the best I could for myself without worrying about taking up someone’s time or unsettling a relationship, but also not sabotage myself.  I am glad I reached out, because I think I may not have represented myself as well otherwise.  Thanks for your time, Karen.  I look forward to FINALLY becoming an adult after so many years of training….to earning a good salary, to having a retirement plan, to moving to a place where I could really build a home and a life without a foreseeable expiration date.  Thanks for being one of the people who helped me get to this point.”

Assistant professor, Regional Teaching College, Music: “This morning I officially accepted a tenure track job offer from a regional institution in the southeast. Karen’s negotiating assistance helped me see which of my “wants” were an appropriate ask for a regional institution. She helped me find the proper tone to ask for these things, and she also found some things in my “want” list that might be questioned as uninformed or insulting from the department’s point of view. With TPII’s assistance, I was able to obtain a 6% salary raise, double my moving assistance, and clarify exactly how to obtain $10,000 in start up funds for my line. For a regional academic position in the arts, particularly in the southeast, this type of package is almost unheard of.”

Well, that’s it!  I hope you’re finding success in your searches so far this year.  Best of luck, and get in touch if I can help.  And no matter what, do let me know how things go for you. I love to hear from clients and readers about their interviews, campus visits and overall feelings about being on the market and the whole academic career track in these challenging times.

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