Navigating the job market can be confusing and stressful. If you are graduating this year and are on the market, consider our summer job materials workshop. Here is a brief rundown of what you need and what you need to do.
The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) has some fantastic workshops geared to helping you produce the best job materials possible as part of their Tomorrow’s Professors Today program. See also the list of all CTE programs here.
A great resource for job-seekers is the AMS Job Hunt page. It includes much more detailed information than we cover here.
Academic job applications require several standard items discussed below.
Create an account on mathjobs.org. This is the central repository for academic jobs in math: the vast majority of academic jobs are posted on mathjobs and you can apply here directly. All of your materials will be uploaded to mathjobs, as will your letter writers’ recommendations.
List your education, professional preparation, and any papers and publications (even if you include a publication list). You should include only pertinent educational and job experience. If you do not yet have publications, you can list expository notes, drafts, and projects in preparation. Be circumspect in listing personal information, and for jobs in the US, avoid including things like marital status, children, age, etc.
Explain your thesis research and any previous work and briefly describe some of your research plans. The page limit for the NSF Postdoc is 5 pages, and this is a standard limit for most jobs.
Describe your experience in the classroom and your approach to teaching. This is a forum to explain your teaching philosophy, but the most successful are grounded in specific classroom experiences. For research postdocs, the usual length is a page. For teaching-focused jobs, the teaching statement is often longer.
This item is increasingly common in job applications. May include the following: (1) a statement of your values around diversity, inclusion, equity, and/or justice in higher education; (2) examples of your efforts towards fostering diversity of perspectives, and success of underrepresented members of the mathematical community; (3) future plans of said efforts. See the Berkeley rubric.
Briefly spell out your background and qualifications for a job. Cover letters should be somewhat tailored for each individual job, and can indicate people at the institution with whom you would be interested in working.
Enumerate all of your papers. If you have not yet published any, then you may list work in preparation and expository works. Any drafts you feel comfortable sharing should be on your website. Completed works (ready for publication or wide distribution) should be put on the ArXiv.
People at schools to which you apply will Google you. Control what they see by having a professional website.
Academic jobs will require 3-5 letters of recommendation, 1-2 of which address teaching. One should be from your advisor; the remaining letters should be from people who have had an opportunity to examine your work. Your teaching letter should be from a faculty member who observes your class. Make sure to
For your teaching letter, you should consider asking someone to observe your teaching in the Spring semester before you go on the job market or at the latest, early in the Fall semester of your final year.
When making your list of schools to which you will apply, spend some time thinking about the faculty at the various institutions. If you know anyone there or if there are people whose work aligns with yours, you should contact them. Say that you are applying for a job at their institution and mention briefly your research interests and how they might mesh. You may also mention names of people you can work with in your cover letter. There are many applicants for each position in general, and small touches like this can help your application stand out.
If you are applying to teaching-focused jobs, you should have more data available to make a case for your teaching prowess. You should craft a teaching portfolio including the following items. Having specifically tailored cover letters is important for these job applications.
Summarize these in a table. Presenting data in a more user-friendly format (for example, giving percentages of 4s and 5s rather than the average score can have a bigger impact) makes it more readable.
Include a sampling of course syllabi you have written, especially those for courses referenced in your teaching statement. The CTE’s Course Design Institute is a great resource helping to come up with more students-oriented syllabi and courses.
Your website is your profile on the web. Prospective employers will visit your website to look at your academic and job materials. Academic pages for students on the market have a fairly standard format. UVA can host a page for you at “theopenscholar”, see here. There are also several popular third-party free hosting solutions, such as GitHub Pages and Google sites.
Briefly describe yourself and include links to your job materials here. Say who your advisor is and some about your working group. It’s also common to include several hobbies here and a picture.
Include any papers, preprints, and drafts you are comfortable sharing. You can also include expository works that flesh out your profile. A brief summary of your research and findings should also go here.
Include a list of your courses along with links to any publically accessible course pages. You should say a little about the classes, rather than simply including a list.
You may also include in your webpage some tracking / analytical cookies. This will help you gauge interest by seeing from where traffic comes. Google Analytics is a free, simple to use system that gives great data.
There are several websites dedicated to helping you navigate the job search and to providing lists of jobs in the mathematical sciences.
The Mathematics Research Group at the National Security (NSA) offers two exceptional summer Programs for undergraduate and graduate mathematics students.
They offer a unique opportunity for graduate students to work directly with NSA mathematicians on mission-critical problems and experience the excitement of the NSA mathematics community.
Please click here: Graduate Mathematics Program (GMP)