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Hiring Season is Upon Us!


Hi all! I hope your week is off to a good start!

It’s that time of year…..hiring season is here! Really, I should say application season is here (hiring tends to take place later in the year).

For those in academia, you may be familiar with the process. When universities are hiring a new professor, they often tend to have application deadlines between October-January. Hiring can occur at any time of year, but this tends to be the most concentrated time. The typical process goes as such….

Applications due October 15th (or November 1st, or December 15th, etc.). During the first round, applications get sorted through and some are “rejected” while others are held. The held copies get sorted through and organized by preference. Generally the top 2-3 people are contacted for interviews (often over the phone first, then in person), and the best man or woman wins! ; )

I’ve seen offers made as early as mid-October (for positions starting the following August), and as late as late-May (for a position starting that August).

What this means for me is that I’ll be busy-busy-busy with applications up to my eyeballs soon.

I’m taking a little different approach this year than I did last year. Last year my #1 goal, above all else, was to get back to Austin (where both my husband and I are from and most of our immediate family reside). I was applying for all kinds of jobs that weren’t even close to my area of expertise out of desperation. I thought, “it doesn’t hurt to try!”

Well we all know what good that did for me….a lotta nothin’.

This year I’m taking a different approach.

I remain firm in my decision to be selective about where I apply (instead of applying all over the country). I am open to only 3 areas: my current area (Tucson/Phoenix), the greater Austin area (from Waco down through San Marcos…maybe San Antonio), and the central Utah area. That’s it. (For new readers, I also have family in Utah).

However, instead of just applying indiscriminately for anything and everything, I’m going to be more selective. I spend a lot of time on each application. I research the faculty, their interests, their publications, the department, the culture (as much as is possible from a website), etc. etc. etc. I’m going to reserve my precious time to only apply for those jobs that are actually a good “fit” for me. Of course, it sounds so obvious, but I have applied for so many willy-nilly jobs just out of desperation to get back to Austin that I wasted a lot of time on things that – even if they had been offered to me – I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed and may not have even accepted. Why do this to myself?

So instead of applying to 15-20 places (like I did last hiring season), maybe I’ll apply to 4 or 5. Who knows? It depends what jobs come up. One was just posted with an October 15th deadline that sounds perfect for me, so we’ll see what happens.

I just wanted to give you all a heads up about my job searching situation and also to let you know what was going on in case I’m a bit scarce from time-to-time. These applications take a lot of time and attention (on top of my other work responsibilities and general life stuff). Of course, I love blogging here and checking in with you guys so I’m sure content will remain pretty regular. Just wanted to give you guys a little update.

Have a great work-week!


  • Reply adam |

    good luck! this is a bit of a different tune than before – you were stuck because of your husband’s business. has that changed? Or, does a full-time position at a major school make it change?

    job searching is an emotional roller coaster. keep your head up.

    • Reply Ashley |

      I’ve always been planning to apply places again during this hiring season (i started blogging at the tail-end of last hiring season, so I haven’t talked about it too much). Moving would, of course, mean a change of job situation for the hubs. This would be taken into consideration when considering positions, salaries, etc. There are many factors involved. I’ve taken the approach that I should only apply for “dream job” type scenarios and, if I get an offer, husband and I can work out the details at that time. No need to stress over it prematurely. Also, its always possible I could get an offer and not take it if it doesn’t make financial sense and we can’t make the terms work.

  • Reply Carnyanna |

    As a fellow academic I gently suggest that you might expand your geographic area beyond the dream area. Academic jobs are so incredibly difficult to get, and the window for getting them is fairly small. But if you can stretch your location then you might get one of those jobs. And the academic life is great. You will have so much more freedom and stability for the rest of your life if you get one of those jobs.

    • Reply Ashley |

      I agree with everything you said. My step-dad has been in academia his whole career and is one of the main reasons I wanted to go into this field (that, and I love my content area!). Moving somewhere else though…..ehhhh, I dunno. The older I’ve gotten the more desperately I’ve wanted to be back by family. Taking a position elsewhere is a long-term commitment (typically staying at least a minimum of 5 years to earn tenure). I can promise that I’ll at least look over relevant job postings……but I’m just not sure I could commit to moving my family across the country (again), uprooting my husband from his job, and starting over in a place I don’t even want to be living in the first place. It’s a really hard decision.

  • Reply Judi |

    Good luck! I’ve noticed the last two years our university has been hiring more faculty in our department and others, and grants haven’t been as hard to come by (still tough though). Just keep your chin up it seems like you’ve really broadened your teaching and research repertoire. This will be your year! I don’t know if this is as applicable but sometimes if you get a job and mention that your husband is looking they will help accommodate the move or even find a position at the university. This is what happened for us, my husband is an attorney and they were able to create a position for as in house counsel when I received a job. Although this probably wouldn’t work in the long term for you guys since I think your husbands job is more lucrative when he runs his own business, but just for a year maybe.

    • Reply Ashley |

      Wow, a spousal hire, huh? I’ve heard of these, but never seen them in practice. They must have really wanted you!!! ; )

  • Reply Alice |

    Best of luck, the academic job market is brutal! I hope you’re considering two year/community colleges which can be amazing places to work. I know you have good reasons but I too want to push you to expand your search geographically a little, the stability of the tenure track is so invaluable. What about New Mexico, Colorado, and Southern California?

    It can be expensive but have you considered an application consultant like The Professor Is In (I can vouch for her,she’s fab)? I think having another set of eyes on your applications keeps you accountable. Again, good luck!

    • Reply Ashley |

      I’ve done community college in the past. If I don’t land a full time position, then I do plan to eventually go back to CC teaching (would love a full time faculty position, but they’re super rare at CC – the norm being adjuncts). I’ve mentioned before, but the money paid for CC is so low that it doesn’t make financial sense when I’m having to pay for childcare for two. Once the girls are old enough they’re in public school this is a route I could consider again.

      In terms of the application consultant – I do have a couple people I know look big ones over. It wouldn’t hurt to check out prices for a consultant, though.

So, what do you think ?