Helen De Cruz and I are happy to announce this call for signups for our 2016 Job-Market Mentoring Project. Full details are available on the project webpage, and prospective mentors and mentees can now fill out the signup survey here. For those of you not be familiar with the project, its primary aim is to enable job candidates in philosophy who face special challenges—including those with little access to mentoring (e.g., because their department or advisor does not offer this)—to receive advice and support from more experienced members of the profession.
We will be running the project from today through August 15th (which will be the last day for signups, though mentors and mentees are of course welcome to correspond after that date). All signup information is confidential, and we will begin matching mentees and mentors as soon as we begin receiving sign-ups!
Helen and I would also like encourage as many potential mentors as possible to sign up, and for readers to spread this call widely to any potential mentors. Last year, we had significantly more mentees sign up than mentors. Although we may not be able to match each and every candidate with a mentor, our hope is to match as many mentors and mentees as we can. Judging from the feedback we got from last year’s mentors (see below), taking part as a mentor does not appear to be an especially onerous responsibility—it typically involves a few email exchanges and providing helpful feedback on their dossier materials. Further, volunteering as a mentor promises to help some of our most vulnerable colleagues in the profession: early career philosophers on an absolutely brutal job-market. Helen and I both know from recent experience just how trying the job-market can be, and how desperately in need of mentorship many candidates are, and we will both be serving as mentors ourselves. So, please, if you can spare the time and energy, consider volunteering: chances are there is a mentee out there who would be very thankful for your help!
Finally, in the hope of motivating signups, we would like to once again share some of the feedback we received from last year’s participants:
“I had a great time working with [my mentee], and the result was excellent. After several years of being on the market and not landing a TT job, he has accepted a TT position...a position he is very excited about...Being a mentor was a great experience. I had the opportunity to get to know another philosopher and, in a small way, help that person work to improve their chances at getting an academic position that was exciting to them. The back and forth was fun, interesting, not particularly time-consuming, and laid the foundation for a friendship that I hope will continue throughout our academic careers." - Alexander Guerrero (University of Pennsylvania)
“As a final-year PhD student in a solid but more or less unknown department in Continental Europe with no placement resources, the Cocoon mentoring project helped me gain an external and honest assessment of my situation and provided me with suggestions to improve my chances of succeeding in the job market” – Anonymous mentee #1
“I chatted with my mentor…a few times throughout the season and he gave me some very helpful advice with respect to my application materials. I am so very grateful to him for his detailed time and attention in helping me work through the job market. He was generous with his time and insight and I was very happy to have the opportunity to interact with him.
In the previous two years, I'd received a total of three first-round interview requests out of nearly 100 applications. This season, however, I only applied to 16 jobs and was interviewed by 6 of them. I am excited to report that I have now accepted a tenure-track position beginning in the Fall. My academic job search is over (thankfully!). What made a difference this year, I think, is having more publications, presentations, and classes, having a more polished dossier, and shifting my attitude from desperate graduate student to motivated professional. All of this would have been impossible without the Cocoon's job market bootcamp (especially the advice on cover letters), my mentor, my other colleagues, and my tired friends. Thank you, again. You provided a very valuable service and I will be forever grateful.” – Anonymous mentee #2
“Thank you for this nice project, I consulted with my mentor…several occasions concerning things I didn't know much about - strategies about where to apply to, formulating the CV, cover letters, a teaching statement, and more particular stuff. [My mentor] was great.” – Anonymous mentee #3
By and large, the feedback we received last year was very positive, and Helen and I have attempted this year to improve two aspects of the program we received critical feedback about: mentor-mentee communication and addressing conflicts-of-interest.
Once again, the project page (with mentor-mentee guidelines) is here, and the sign-up survey here. Thanks in advance to all of the program’s volunteer mentors. And, to mentees: we hope the project helps, and wish you all the best on the job-market!