This week I want to pass on some great advice I read for recent post-docs and how to get their first teaching job. You can read the full article by Gary de Coker here but I have pulled out the key sections relevant for the UK job market below.
1. Learn about the university.
You may think you know a lot about how universities work, but there’s always more you can do. Learn which consortia the university you are applying to is a member of, for example, the Russell Group. You might think that managerial policy has little to do with you as a lowly applicant for a teaching job but this isn’t true. The more you can teach yourself about the policies and future plans of the institution, the more knowledgeable you’ll sound at interview. And make sure that those writing your referees’ letters also know a bit about the university to which you are applying.
2. Teaching Experience
Get as much as you can, but don’t worry if you have never designed or run your own course. A variety of experience is better as long as you can show the interview panels the range of pedagogical techniques you have used and can comment on their relative successes or failures.
Unless directed otherwise, offer your interview presentation on a subject that would be of interest to undergraduates. The panel want to see that you’ll make a good teacher, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to talk to them about the intricacies of your thesis later.
4. Interview panel
Do a lot of research about each person who will be interviewing you. What are their academic interests, but also what is their role within the university and hence, on this interview panel. Bear in mind you’ll probably have to repeat yourself a lot over the course of the day as you ‘sell’ yourself to different people. Try to come across as professional but friendly, organised but approachable.
Most of this is great advice for jobseekers whatever their position, but especially so for those who have recently completed their PhD. Good luck!