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I had a friend who did some teaching at prisons, and it seemed a huge help on the market.


Thanks for making the post, Marcus.

I should, say, though, that I didn't mean to suggest it wasn't clear that these sorts of things would help a candidate stand out (although I did raise some doubts whether one should do them, given the trade-offs associated with them).

To be clear, my question is this: What are some things, like teaching in prisons, securing a book contract, etc. that one can do to stand out - things that one wouldn't immediately think to do to secure a job.

Book author

I would not pursue a book contract unless you have a book project you really want to do. Books are near endless projects. They can make dissertations look breezy and easy. Also, as a junior person I would recommend that you have a good draft of the book (or a clear sketch of its structure) before you even talk to a publisher.
I do not think edited volumes are worth much. After your career is established and you get asked to edit something that many will want to read, then that is a different story.

Marcus Arvan

Book author: good points. I wouldn't recommend trying to write a book without a clear independent desire to write one, along with a clear vision and time to complete a draft before submitting to publishers. As you say, books require a huge investment of time and resources--and it is by no means assured that one will get a contract with a decent publisher.

That being said, my sense is that a book contract can help on the market very much--so, if someone already has publications and is itching to write a book, it may be something to consider (I have an early career, non-TT friend who just got a contract with a top-5 publisher, and I would be very surprised if it doesn't help him a great deal on the market).


What about a text book contract?


I have been told to stay far away from text books because they are extremely time consuming and don't matter for tenure. So it might actually hurt.

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