By Andrew Moon
(Research Fellow, Notre Dame) - starting TT post at Virginia Commonwealth University in Fall 2017
[This blog post is adapted from an e-mail update I wrote to some people who were supporting me while I was on the job market this year. Some people suggested that it might be helpful to others. This was my eighth year on the market, so it will more likely be helpful to those who have been on the market for a while.]
Last year, I had no on-campus interviews, but this year, I had four on-campus interviews, and I received offers from three of them (although one of them was not tenure track). What was the difference between the two years? I don’t know, but here are some differences.
1) A pep talk from Bob and Marilyn Adams last summer really inspired me to work with renewed vigor to perfect my job application materials. Before that, I had sort of gotten into the mindset of, “It’s all just luck anyway,” but their believing in me helped me to think, “Yes, I can do this! I can make a difference to whether I get interviews.”
2) I made sure, last Spring and Summer, to keep my research letter writers (my dissertation advisor and second reader) informed of my current research and to share my latest papers in epistemology (my AOS) with them. This allowed me to not only get useful feedback, but also gave them more things to talk about in their letters. In addition, I had a significantly revised letter from Dean Zimmerman, with whom I was working that year and who also had read my latest work in philosophy of religion (my AOC).
3) I revamped and worked extra hard on my teaching and research statements. My teaching statement was shrunk from 3 pages to 2 pages, with my points being made more impactfully and concisely. I made sure to get feedback from people I believed were reliable; each sentence and most words were given careful attention.
4) I deleted my dissertation abstract from both my website and my C.V. and replaced them with a book project (which happens to be based on my dissertation), in keeping with my being a young professional and not a recent graduate student. I now have a book proposal and a book I hope to publish in the near future.
5) I’d gained three or four more publications in that year.
6) I added high quality pictures of me on my website.
(In case you’re interested, https://andrewymoon.wordpress.com/. My other materials are there; maybe they will be helpful to you.)
7) I now had a postdoc at Notre Dame. (This was following a 2-year postdoc at Rutgers.)
8) Throughout the application and interview process, I regularly consulted the Philosopher Cocoon boot camp pages and Dan Korman’s advice (http://faculty.las.illinois.edu/dzkorman/Advice.html).
I don’t know what was most important, but I hope that maybe at least some of these points can be helpful for others who have been on the market.