Last Sunday, a friend and I got together to work on our job applications together. It was really encouraging and helpful to have another person there to bounce ideas off, to chat with, to break up the day, and for general merriment (not something often associated with the writing of job applications, I must say!)
We vlogged about the day (shameless self-promotion ahead), and you can watch that video here!
In the vlog I promised to put together a list of some resources I had used in (academic) writing job applications, and here it is. (Please note, all these suggestions relate to academic jobs!). I’ve broken it down into loose categories:
The first thing you MUST look at if you’re putting together a CV is Dr Karen’s Rules for the Academic CV (or the associated section in her book ‘The Professor is In’). Karen lays out exactly how you should format the CV, and what categories to include. This is also one of the very rare occasions I suggest reading the comments!
If you have never put together an academic CV before (if it’s been a long time!), there’s a series of worksheets in the How to Apply for an Academic Job ebook here on jobs.ac.uk.
This is, I think, where I have the most trouble (as one friend, who I have been badgering about cover letters over email, will attest!).
Again, Dr Karen has some good (general) advice, advice about tailoring (which I think I’m not very good at!), and advice for teaching-specific jobs. These are pitched at the US market, though – so one thing that you need to be aware of for the UK market is that these templates don’t take into account the idea of writing for the person specification. Fiona Delondras has some good advice on job applications generally (including CV stuff) here. And there is also lots of stuff on jobs.ac.uk, including the ebook I linked to above, How to Write a Cover Letter for Academic Jobs and How to Write a Cover Letter for Research Jobs (although this is, I feel, more pitched as science researchers, there is a lot of useful advice, and there are some examples).
Okay, this isn’t a list of resources for you, but some advice (not mine, I hasten to add). Seek out support, ask people to advocate for you, to read your letters, to help you out. This is a tough game, and it isn’t always fair.
Also, be supportive. Other people from your PhD cohort are probably going through the same things you are, and you can find help each other (even if it is just a whinge over a pint every so often!).
And, support yourself. Be kind, do self-care however you do it. Remember to look at your achievements. And, when you get a rejection, or you’re just feeling a bit down about the whole grind of the academic job hunt, read Me and My Shadow CV. Then read A CV of Failures. Then read Celebration of Failure. Then eat a piece of cake, or go for a walk, or lay in the sun, or read a book. And try to be happy (although, trust me, I know that’s easier to say than do).