Post Academic


Be prepared!: After you send in your job application…

Maybe I shouldn’t be the one to be offering this advice, since I’m probably not sending any job applications in and still haven’t logged into the MLA JIL even for curiosity’s sake.  But if you’re doing some kind of endzone celebration after sending in your first batch of  job applications, we should  flag you for excessive celebration.  First, there’s probably still a bunch more applications to send in, which you would know if you made a handy spreadsheet like we suggested awhile ago.  Second, it seems like no two applications on your spreadsheet list are the same, from those requiring the bare minimum of cover letter and CV to those asking for everything and the kitchen-sink.  If you’ve already dealt with the latter, you’re probably golden for what’s yet to come.

"Emergency Preparedness 'Ready to Go' Kit" by Red Cross (Public Domain)

But if you’ve only been turning in the standard letter-CV variety up to now, you better be ready when you get the email you’re hoping to get for a secondary application or even a pre-convention interview request.  It might seem like it’s too early to stress about it now, but don’t wait to sweat it when you get your golden ticket, but aren’t ready to promptly reply to it.  In addition to the basics of the cover letter and CV, you can pretty much get any variations of the following at any time, so get your ducks in a row.

Writing Sample(s): I’ve been asked for samples of various lengths from 15 to 30 pages, including or excluding footnotes. Unlike some folks who just send in whatever they have at hand no matter the length, I follow instructions in fear of inflexible, dictatorial search committees looking for any reason to disqualify me, and will cut my default 30-ish pager down to 15 or 20 or 25, depending on what they’re are asking for. Use it as a good exercise in editing and not being too precious with your writing, since slicing and dicing your papers can actually make them better and more streamlined.

More about writing sample(s) below the fold…

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