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11/03/2020

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Going anonymous for this one...

Like you, I was on the market for a while. I had been able to land several postdoc positions in succession and because I was in Europe this was more common than in the US and so not a big deal. Still, going into my third postdoc position I knew I should try to find something permanent (also, moving around so much was not good for our family's wellbeing). It really dawned on me something was wrong with my materials when I gave a talk at a conference in England, and the faculty members there were wildly enthusiastic. One of them asked why I didn't apply for a faculty position they recently had. But I had applied! And like my other applications, I didn't even get on the longlist (in spite of a good CV, of course, many people have good CVs).
That's when I knew my materials must be lacking. So, I enlisted Kelsky. Her personality was indeed somewhat unpleasant to work with, but I think she did a great job showing me where my materials go wrong, getting a better sense of the US market too. I started landing interviews, and soon (also using her interview intervention) a tenure track job in Europe.
Looking back on her services, I do think it's worth people who have no mentoring or help at all with these things can get benefit from them. This is just speaking from personal experience. However, her help is not tailored to specific disciplines (she has a clear template, which you can also find in her book, and you end up with decent though cookie-cutter materials following them). If you do have a good placement director their help will likely be more valuable as it will be specific to philosophy, e.g., what journals help for CV building, who to solicit letters from outside of one's department, etc etc.

Shane Wilkins

Hi Marcus,

I'm responding to the "resources for getting a non-academic job" part of the post.

First, the APA's Non-Academic Careers Committee has been creating content for our new website (which will replace the old Beyond Academia guide in pdf). This should begin rolling out before Christmas. Initially the content will be fairly small, but the website will give us a platform to continue to build upon.

Second, there are a number of good resources about a non-academic career search available online now. You can get good advice about informational interviewing, networking, making a resume, and other really fantastic content over at ImaginePhD.com.

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