New year, new start and plenty of people are on the lookout for a change of job, change of career or change of environment.
‘Surely all I need to do is sign up to the jobs.ac.uk email alerts?’, you tell yourself. Well, yes, that is a good start and obviously I would endorse that, but it’s by no means an exhaustive list of the academic job market.
Job hunting can be a job in itself and there are always hidden opportunities lurking in the corners of the internet or sitting in someone’s in tray.
Here are some tips on how and where to find job opportunities, particularly if you are new to academia.
- Old fashioned networking
Keep in touch with people in other academic institutions and those you have met at professional, training or research events. All of the jobs I have considered applying for, I have known about before the official advert, through staff tip offs.
- On spec
Universities and further education colleges are often looking for part time staff and often at very little notice. If you can be flexible you are in with a good chance of picking up work and getting your foot in the door. A politely worded email to the course leader / subject group leader / head of department attached with your CV, sent at the right time can be a godsend. Try aiming for around June and December when planning for semester 1 and 2 are in progress and again in late August and early January in case there are any last minute gaps that need filling.
- Social media
Twitter, LinkedIn and even Facebook can be a great way of maintaining those networks and keeping a beady eye on job opportunities. Follow institution HR departments and job websites, and course leaders at institutions that appeal to you. Make sure your profile and CV is up to date and ideally have your own website to promote yourself.
- Academic networks
Often jobs are advertised first through academic networks such as MeCCSA (for communications and media) and they can give you a heads up on who to contact for an informal chat about the position in question. Sign up to networks relevant to your discipline – JISC Mail is a good place to start.
- Consider non-teaching work
Academic networks are also a good place to find alternative part time work such as being on a journal editorial team or managing a website. If you have copy editing skills or web skills these can be invaluable to academic networks / bodies and often this work is fairly well paid for.
- Institutions websites
All institutions will advertise jobs on their HR job vacancy pages so keep an eye on these in case you miss the advert through other channels. Institutions sometimes make off decisions about where to advertise their vacancies so it is always good to monitor their own websites as a backup.
- Other job sites
There are a range of places to seek jobs, just make sure you know your market and sign up to email alerts, Google alerts on key words or social media posts from the relevant websites. These might include jobs.ac.uk, Guardian jobs, or job curation websites.
A small number of institutions still advertise the old fashioned way – in print. It is therefore worth regularly looking through The Times Higher Education supplement and other newspapers to spot jobs. Even your local newspaper will advertise jobs at colleges in the printed product.
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