Ultimate Job Search Tips
Congratulations, you’ve decided to finally stop living off student loans and find one of the few remaining jobs in education. Or maybe your desperation for career advice has brought you here from another field. Either way, prepare for the best list of tips you’ll ever read. I’ve seen lots of job candidates over the years, and the ones who impressed me the most did one or more of the following:
- Include a photograph of yourself on your resume. Center it, so there’s no way the search committee can ignore your charming smile. Preferably, use a picture of yourself holding a pet. It doesn’t have to belong to you. In fact, you don’t even need a cat or a dog. A less predictable animal could help your application stand out. A pig? An iguana? Maybe an armadillo? Think outside the box. They’ll appreciate your creativity.
- Use standard font, but consider adding profanity. For example, write “May 2013-July 2017: Fucking Bad Ass Graduate Assistant.” Imagine me falling asleep over a digital stack of applications, and then coming across that. Hello, I’d sure like to find out what makes him so special. Guess what, Dr. Badass? You just got moved up to the shortlist.
- Send a comprehensive application package. Something the size of a phone book will suffice. You need to document every single thing you’ve done in your adult life since high school. Fliers, pamphlets, articles in local newsletters, especially poignant compliments you’ve received over email. Print it all out, and put that shit into a leather-bound scrapbook. Drop your dossier off personally, and offer to go over the material in case they have questions. Your committee will be so overwhelmed with the evidence, they’ll either hire you — or you can sue them later for discrimination. Or at least threaten to do that.
- If you’re an A.B.D (all but dissertation), just go ahead and start putting PhD after your name. You’re practically there already. Don’t you believe in yourself? Show some confidence!
- People always say to use reverse chronological order for your work experience. What better way to stand out than doing the opposite? Again, the game’s all about getting their attention. Plus, this trick helps us figure out all old you are.
- Nobody does phone interviews anymore. Everything happens over Skype or Google Hangouts. Therefore, you can choose an exotic location for your first interview. Personally, I recommend strip clubs. You want to look like an instant winner, so initiate video in the middle of a lap dance. In fact, try to have three or four dancers visible at all times. Someone who can answer difficult questions with a woman’s breasts resting on top of their head obviously has the communication skills to succeed in the classroom, or anywhere for that matter.
- Name-dropping is essential. You want the search committee to know you have connections. Tell stories about all the times you’ve gone out for dinner with someone famous in your field. Did you have a five-minute conversation with Harold Bloom, maybe Judith Butler? Don’t waste that experience. Talk about it!
- People used to send follow-up emails after an interview. That’s on the right track, but nowadays everyone’s on social media. You should look up all of the search committee members and friend them on Facebook. Connect with them on LinkedIn, and follow them on Twitter, and even Instagram. You should plan a bike trip, and post lots of photos so they’re bound to see you enjoying life.
- Over the next 3–4 days, you need to work your potential employers pretty hard. If you’re attractive, post even more beach pictures than usual. Tag your future colleagues in your posts. Send them personalized messages with cat GIFs.
- Don’t be lazy with your GIFs. Go deep into that bank and send them something original, something that showcases your personality, your creativity, your ingenuity.
- A university only invites people for a campus visit if they plan to offer you the job. So don’t stress too much over this part. Now’s the time to present yourself as demanding, so they know you’re serious. For example, the chair will email you an itinerary a few days before your visit. You should mark it up with corrections and send back promptly. Breakfast at 7:30 am? No way, it has to be 8 am or later. You need your rest, so you can perform. Insist on lunch at a 4-star restaurant.
- Don’t accept anything less than first class. They might tell you that state law mandates economy class for all university travel, but that’s a lie. Tell them if they want a first class professor, then you need a first class plane ticket that departs no earlier than 10 am.
- Also, ask them what kind of car they’ll be using to pick you up from the airport. If they don’t know, suggest they rent a limousine, or at least a Lexus.
- Definitely drink on the plane. You want to be nice and relaxed for the faculty dinner after you arrive.
- Yes, a lot of committees want to dine with you the night before your interview. You’ll have to wade through some chit chat, but that’s fine. Definitely brag about your most recent accomplishments, like maybe you can bench 300 pounds now, or you have a thousand followers on Instagram. Or you recently got a nose job, and you look just like Jenna Tatum now.
- If you’re a woman, you should tell everyone how many guys hit on you in the airport. But don’t sound like you’re bragging. Try to appear like it made you uncomfortable, and of course ask the other women present if that happens to them a lot. It’s good to commiserate. Use the word “feminist” at least once during this discussion.
- You should move past the pleasantries quickly, to questions about course load, salary, research time, travel funds, and of course the size of your office! Will you be getting your own personal bathroom? Will you get a graduate assistant, to fetch coffee and run errands?
- Wear sunglasses during your campus visit proper. You’ll be meeting with lots of people, including deans and provosts, and you don’t want them to know exactly what you’re thinking. Also, you can rest your eyes if you need to while they’re telling you about the campus.
- Your job presentation will make or break your visit. I mean, you’re practically hired by this point. But a great job talk means the difference between a small or big office, whether you get a company car, and the size of your signing bonus. Don’t do some boring PowerPoint. Perform a song, or a choreographed dance routine. Based on my personal experience, it helps to take some belly-dancing lessons. These days, universities don’t care about your research. They want to know if you can entertain students. The highest-paid professors are actually retired comedians.
- You only need to go on one campus visit. Obviously, you’ll get a dozen invitations. It’s best to turn them down first, then change your mind and call back the next day. This strategy leaves them in a state of suspense, and puts the power in your corner.
That’s all the advice I have for now. But if you’re interested, you can respond below and ask me about my job search book, The Art of the Hunt. It’s already sold millions of copies worldwide. Every single one of those people got jobs in education. Request your copy today, and I’ll throw in 10 hours of personal coaching. I’ll read your job application letters, and for $100 extra I’ll even do your phone interviews for you. I’m great at impersonations.