I was invited to give a talk last week in Liverpool about how to maximise your chances int he academic job market. Although I am not a trained careers adviser I do have a lot of personal experience and obviously have been involved in the career development site for jobs.ac so I jumped at the chance. I found it very rewarding and inspiring and hopefully my experience might give you some ideas too.
The event I went to was the New-ACE workshop held in Liverpool’s Engineering Department. The organisers had been awarded money by the EPSRC to set up a typical sort of academic network, where people sharing the same interests from all sorts of institutions get together periodically to discuss their research. However, this network also had a second aim of helping boost the job prospects of new academics. I think this is a great idea, not only giving a forum for people to share their experiences, but also giving a chance for an ‘expert’ like me to come in and give a basic tutorial in how to get an academic job.
I enjoyed attending the workshop very much. It felt a little like I had landed in some sort of alternate reality! The format of the day, chaired speakers followed by questions, coffee breaks, free lunches etc was exactly what I am used to in history circles, but I had landed in a parallel universe where everyone was discussing control engineering! We had a great discussion after my talk about employers looking on social networking sites for ‘dirt’ on prospective employees, about research versus teaching portfolios and the position of overseas applicants. I would heartily recommend anyone thinking of setting up this sort of network to include a career development aspect as a balance to the intellectual work you do. And if you’d like me to come and share some of my experiences, well, you only have to ask!