Job Searching for PhD Students
The peak of job market application deadlines for tenure track positions is on October 1. A few deadlines will be earlier (most likely September 15), and others will be later (October 15, Nov 1, 15). Most schools will close their tenure track searches by December 1. After that, most of the advertisements will be for 1-3 year visiting spots. The deadlines for post-doctoral applications vary, but some are as early as September 15. We urge you to prepare for these deadlines in advance.
All major government and political science department in the US will advertise their positions using the APSA personnel service. Canadian schools can be found on the CPSA site. Formerly, these advertisements were printed monthly in the APSA Personnel Service Newsletter. Now all of the positions are posted online. Access to the APSA job listings is available to all APSA members via the APSA home page. If you are not a member of APSA, you should become one. The student rate is quite reasonable.
You should request three to five general recommendation letters from faculty members who know your work well. It is often helpful to give the faculty members a brief paragraph with your request that specifies the types of institutions you are applying to, your research and teaching interests, the classes you have taken with him or her and the grades received, and a brief (2-3 sentence) description of your dissertation. You must give the faculty at least two weeks to write you a letter. Do not expect them to be able to write letters on your behalf in less than that time.
The Department of Government will continue to use the web-based Interfolio system for job placement services. This system has been in operation for nearly a decade and is currently being used by the MBNA Center at GU as well as a wide range of other universities including the University of Chicago. This system will manage job placement materials, such as recommendations, CVs, transcripts, and writing samples. The system will produce professional-looking job packets in a way that is fast and flexible (accounts are self-managed and can be accessed by you and your letter writers from anywhere with an internet connection). The system will also reduce time and coordination difficulties by enabling you to monitor what recommendations you have on file, select the content you want for each dossier you want to send, and select when and how to send your materials (i.e. regular mail, next day mail, etc.).
As of now, each student has full control over setting up and sending out his or her dossier. Students on the job market this fall should familiarize themselves with this system, then contact the faculty members they have or want recommendations from and ask them to post new recommendations on this system (paper copies of existing recommendations cannot be used). Students should also post their CV and other materials that they want sent out. You may post your materials in a variety of formats including Word, Word Perfect, and pdf. Acrobat writer has been installed on all the machines in the Graduate lounge, so you may convert your Word or Word Perfect documents to pdf format if you like.
You can take a tour of the service at http://www.interfolio.com/fh_overview.html. Please be sure to get comfortable with the system well ahead of any deadlines for job applications. Interfolio can do rush jobs, but it costs much more. The department will cover annual registration and $60 worth of services per year per student. Reimbursements will be available in bulk at several times during the year and require original receipts.
NOTE: When you register, MAKE SURE to choose “Georgetown University - Department of Government” as your affiliation. (DO NOT choose simply Georgetown University as that will connect you to the MBNA Center's cite rather than the Department's cite).
Faculty (and others) writing recommendations will need to register (it takes about one minute). Students will need to ask for letters and will provide a code that will allow letter writers to be able to upload letters. For details (and to register), they can go to: http://www.interfolio.com/writer_overview.html. (When they register, they need to MAKE SURE to choose “Georgetown University - Department of Government” as their affiliation. (Do NOT choose simply Georgetown University as that will connect you to the MBNA Center's cite rather than the Department's cite). The system will protect the confidentiality of letters, but will still allow students to know if letters have been received.
Your cover letter should include the following:
• A brief (1-3 paragraph) summary of your dissertation that specifies your puzzle or research question; the academic debate you are situating yourself in; your argument; your research methodology; your major findings; and the implications of your findings for the field and for policy (i.e. answer the "so what question").
• An anticipated completion date for your dissertation.
• A sentence or two discussing of research topics you are likely to pursue after your dissertation is done.
• A brief paragraph on the papers you have under review or have published. Specify where your papers are being reviewed.
• A brief paragraph about the types of courses you would be willing to teach. Think in terms of various topics, levels, and sizes. Mention any teaching or TA experiences you have.
• Contact information including your mailing address (department or home), phone numbers (home), email address.
• A full paragraph on fit. It is important to show that you know who is working at the school where you are applying, and to identify synergies between your work and teaching interests and the department's research strengths and needs (in terms of both substantive issue areas and methodology), and its teaching needs (subject matter and level).
Finally, remember that while the job market will be competitive, you come from a top program and can do well. Good luck!
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