In the comments section of our newest "How can we help you?" post, a reader ('Stuck, PhD) writes,
I am feeling really, really stuck, and am unsure how to even begin to ask for help. All of the issues Amanda brought up in her recent post (http://philosopherscocoon.typepad.com/blog/2017/03/reader-query-on-professional-frustrations.html) present serious obstacles to achieving professional success on the basis of merit. But even if you have the good fortune to surmount those obstacles--as I have to some extent--that's no guarantee that you'll get a job. And then, it's not even clear what you're supposed to do to improve your candidacy next time around (even if you had the time and opportunity to do those things, which Amanda points out one doesn't always have). I'm sure there are lots of others in my position with even better CVs than me who don't know what else to do.
To begin with, I have several unearned job market advantages that I don't deserve to have but have nonetheless: I'm a male with no geographic restrictions who went to a top-20 Leiter school and thereby also have a letter from a bigshot in my dossier. Then there are things I've actually worked for: I've taught over a dozen classes; I've sole-authored 3 papers in good specialty journals, all of which have been cited; and I have a 4th paper forthcoming in a top 10 generalist journal.
This year I got two Skype interviews from about 80 applications. What else can I do, other than teach and publish more an hope that makes a difference? I don't have much service experience, but I can't get any of that at this point without a job.
I empathize. I spent seven years on the academic job-market feelingly similarly stuck. While I do not have any silver-bullet type answers, allow me to briefly share a few thoughts and then open things up for reader comments/advice.