Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Hangover: Facing the Job Market after Earning a Graduate Degree

What kind of cover letter catches the eye of a prospective employer?  How do you fashion a resume that stands out from a pack of hundred?  Under what circumstances should you ever wear a Dr. Pepper t-shirt at an academic job interview?  Dr. Tony Scinta, Department Chair of Social Sciences and Associate Professor of Psychology, addressed these and other pressing questions this past Friday as an invited speaker at the 23rd Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science. 

The four-person panel session, titled The Naked Truth: Navigating the Academic Job Market in Tough Economic Times, treated roughly 100 audience members to information, advice, and a handful of cautionary tales about the pursuit of an academic career in psychology. 

Guided by his service on 23 academic job searches, Dr. Scinta provided ample perspective on a host of issues, from the development of an application (“Clearly and succinctly demonstrate why you are right for the job – don’t make the hiring committee work to figure it out”) to the logistics of an in-person interview (“If at all possible, do not check your bag – if the airline loses it, you might wind up giving your job talk dressed like an extra from the movie Old School). 

The job market may not have improved during the course of the 60-minute presentation, but Dr. Scinta hopes that the fortunes of those in attendance got just a little bit brighter.

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