Skip to main content

Academic Job Market

The academic job search is built around a portfolio of materials that tell a story about the candidate’s research, future research agenda, teaching, special skills and training, service, and more. Although this portfolio varies field-to-field—and person-to-person—the goal of that narrative is similar across the board.

This content provides insight, examples, and best practices for each of the more common materials found in the academic job market portfolio. Here is a general overview of your portfolio as a whole:

Cover Letter

Best thought of as the guide to the rest of the academic portfolio, the cover letter provides the through-line that ties together research, pedagogy, service, and DEI work

  • Most read item of the portfolio
  • Purpose of the letter stays the same field-to-field, but the format can vary widely
  • Organization should mirror the needs of the role; for example, prioritizing teaching over research at a small liberal arts institution

Learn more

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Cites all accomplishments, training, and relevant experience for job searches

  • Ever growing and evolving document
  • All encompassing and focused on showcasing accomplishments to colleagues in the field
  • Like the cover letter, the organization should mirror the needs of the role

Learn more

Research Statement

Conceptualizes current and future research projects and interests

  • Highlights doctoral research, publication record, and any other relevant experience to your scholarship
  • Provides insight into future research agenda
    • Note, applicants should take into account expertise already represented in the department when framing future projects

Learn more

Teaching Statement or Philosophy

Conceptualizes approach to teaching and pedagogy

  • Highlights teaching experience, including teaching assistantships, instructor of record positions, recitations, workshop facilitations, teaching-related fellowships, teaching-related community involvement, etc.
  • Gives insight into an overarching pedagogical approach using specific examples from classes taken or taught

Learn more

Teaching Portfolio

Commonly requested for teaching intensive roles and inclusive of a candidate’s teaching statement. Additional content requested could include:

  • Summary of teaching roles and activities
  • Sample syllabi
  • Sample lesson plans
  • Teaching evaluations

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Statement

Discusses how your research, pedagogy and service will advance the institution’s mission of diversity, equity, and inclusion

  • Highlights how your past, present, and future activities are in line with the department and institution’s priorities and initiatives

Learn more

Writing Sample

A piece of writing representative of research projects or interests

  • Usually, a published article or a polished dissertation chapter of about 20 pages
  • Length and type of writing will vary widely depending on the field