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I have a PhD from a good European university (Groningen), which has a strong programme in analytic philosophy, and I have an advisor who is well known in his field (formal philosophy, epistemology) and who has papers in the likes of Philosophical Review. Yet, I struggled to find a permanent position and had (if you include my first PhD) a total of seven years of postdoc experience, the majority of which (5 years) which was on projects that I won in competitive grant bids.
Today, I am at a UK university. Before that, I received an offer from an American university which I had to decline (due to my family situation), and I recently got a feeler from another (well-regarded) American university about whether I'd like to apply. My advice is:
(1) Publish, publish, publish, preferably in good places, and try to make a name for yourself in one or more subfields.
(2) Network with American colleagues, for instance, by attending conferences. European postdoc grants sometimes have a generous package of travel funds (for instance, one of my postdocs had 4000 euros per year I could use for travel/books/research funds. Use that to attend conferences. I would recommend specialist conferences in your field rather than the APA, because it's easier to get lost in there
(3) Acquaint yourself with the specific elements of the American job dossier, such as the teaching statement (which is almost never required in European job dossiers). Read the Professor is in, the Cocoon bootcamp and other stuff about how to write such dossier elements
(4) Be pro-active with your letter writers about letters if you apply to American jobs. Tell them a US job letter needs to be long, specific and very positive if you are to have any chance in hell.

Michel X.

This isn't quite the information requested, and it's out of date, but...

A couple years ago I counted up the provenance of PhDs working at the internationally-ranked T53 PhD-granting departments in the US and Canada (plus every PhD- and MA-granting programs in Canada), and posted the results here (http://philosopherscocoon.typepad.com/blog/2015/03/the-composition-of-ranked-programs.html).

By my count, these were the best European placers into these programs (percentages are of the total number of faculty represented, which was 1700). Each of these had 3+ placements:

Oxford (143 - 8.41%)
Cambridge (47 - 2.77%)
Sorbonne (18 - 1.06%)
St. Andrews (15 - 0.88%)
London (college unknown) (14 - 0.82%)
LSE (12 - 0.71%)
Leeds (10 - 0.59%)
Edinburgh (6 - 0.35%)
KCL (6 - 0..35%)
Reading (6 - 0.35%)
Catholique-Louvain (4 - 0.24%)
FU Berlin (4 - 0.24%)
UCL (4 - 0.24%)
Essex (3 - 0.18%)
Humboldt Berlin (3 - 0.18%)
J.W. Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main (3 - 0.18%)
Sheffield (3 - 0.18%)
York (England) (3 - 0.18%)

FWIW thought, there's a series of precipitous declines for at the very top echelons. The first five departments take up a quarter of all placements, and the next five, 15%. The lowest-ranked of those ten, in Leiter's international rankings, is Cambridge.

There are so many limitations to my counting that it's not an especially informative dataset, however, and I'd lend more credence to anecdotes from search committee members. I'll say this, though: it's not quite as bad as I might have expected.

Michel X.

A small correction: that's placements into the I53 (plus the rest of Canada's PhD- and MA-granting universities). So that includes the top UK departments and ANU, which might well skew things. My apologies: I hadn't quite rubbed all the sleep from my eyes.

Elisa Freschi

I have a post-doc position in Europe (like Helen's ones, namely one for which I applied and won a grant). Whenever I discuss with colleagues from the US, I notice the same pattern of misunderstandings, based on a few points:
1. in the US one assumes that a person in my age should have a TT or permanent position (alternatively, she or he is just not good enough), due to the fact that there are *way* more teaching positions and it is in this sense easier to land in one (I know, US colleagues and friends will say it is not that easy, but it is still comparatively easier, due to the vast number of liberal art colleges and the like).
2. My US colleagues underestimate the amount of energy and work I and my European colleagues invest in grant-applications (and how prestigious they are). They look in my curriculum for different things, such as teaching awards, fail to find them and tend therefore to underestimate my teaching skills.
3. US letters are far more emphatic than any European one, so that the letters I can offer always look too shy in comparison, although they are realistic and trustworthy in their assessment.

LONG STORY SHORT: I wonder whether a European scholar applying for a US job should not point such differences out in her cover letter, so as to make search committee aware of these differences.

(European scholars, by contrast, take it for granted, that one will be paid during the Summer, that teaching loads will not be too bad and so on… but this will be discussed in a separate post about the European market for US applicants:)


Thank you, this is of great interest.

I will be on the market shortly, with a PhD from a Continental EU university.

My situation might be atypical (I have 2 top-15 publications out plus a couple of technical ones and spent almost 2 years visiting top-ranked departments in UK and US, so I have a couple of letters from well-known people), but I look forward to recent initiatives like Yale's and UCLA's. I sense someone like me could be competitive only for reasonably blind searches and just for positions requiring little or no teaching experience. For these reasons I am quite hesitant to apply but to 2-3 positions in North America, if at all.

On a related note, how useful or unethical is to "edit" one's cv by leaving out papers in *national language* or in English but published in national venues?

USA today

I would not edit your c.v. and leave out publications in national languages/non-English. Obviously they will likely not be read (unless there is a Romanian or Dane, etc. on the committee who is curious). But they will not work against you. It is not a crime (not yet!) to speak and write in another language.
And the risk of leaving things off a c.v. is that if some curious search committee member finds things by searching on the web, you may appear deceptive.

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