Careers in Science Series: The Post-Application Submission Waiting Game

Monday, May 11, 2015

Waiting to hear back from places that you submit job applications to is always a very stressful experience! There really is no general rule of thumb in terms of the timeline for when you can hope to hear back. For one school, I was invited for an interview one week after the application was submitted, but for other places it was a little over two months. I know a friend who submitted an application in September and did not get invited for an interview until February, but in the end was offered the job!

Blank chalk board

Each individual school or department will have different methods for how they evaluate applications, and often a school will get hundreds of applications for one position, which will take some time to go through. While you are waiting, keep searching for more job postings! You never know when something else might appear. While you are waiting, it is also a really great time to put your formal seminar together.

In general, you should plan to give a 45-50 minute seminar, and practice, practice, practice! You really want to have a polished, well put-together seminar. I would also recommend investing in one of those laser pointer presentation tools, which will allow you to easily change slides. My other big personal tip for preparing seminars is to make multiple different versions of the talk and save it in as many places as you can. I usually make two versions of my talk, one with movies and one that is static, because not all movies will display properly on all types of projectors. I also always save my presentation files in at least two different formats and in multiple locations. It’s also a good idea to email it to yourself so you can easily access the file from anywhere.

Another great way to stay engaged while you are waiting to hear about your applications is to start working (if you haven’t already) on your new project. If and when you get asked to give a "chalk talk," it will be to your advantage to show some preliminary data. I don’t think search committees are looking for a huge amount of work, but at least enough to demonstrate that your project seems feasible and that you are on the right track to producing something that is fundable.

For my next post, I'll share some of my best tips on how to prepare for academic job interviews.

Category: Careers