Materials for academic job-hunting 1.0

Shurui Zhou
3 min readJul 11, 2020


I am so thankful for all the professors and friends who helped me on this journey. I think it is time to repay the community and share my experiences and materials for preparing the academic job application.

Where to find job openings

Great starting points and references along the whole process

Computer Science Grad Student Job Application & Interview Guide by Westley Weimer, Claire Le Goues, and Zak Fry

The academic job search for computer scientists in 10 questions by Nicolas Papernot and Elissa M. Redmiles

Faculty Job Interviewing Tips by Jeffrey P. Bigham

I had concrete questions at different stages (preparation for application, phone interview, onsite interview, making decisions,…), so I re-read these documents and only focused on the corresponding part.

Making decision

What’s it Like Being the Only HCI Person in a CS Department? by Jeffrey P. Bigham

2018 Taulbee Survey of faculty salary


Academic offer check list (a shared google doc we created, feel free to add comments or make changes)

Academic Job Search: Negotiating Your Faculty Startup Package by Bill Lindstaedt

Negotiating for a faculty position during COVID-19 from UCSF

Covid-19 makes things complicated

Schools Announcing a Hiring Freeze in 2020 by Karen Kelsky

Building connections

  • Advertise yourself: Attending Conferences/Doctoral Symposium, on Twitter (which helped me get invitations including my UofT one!). I have also created my own avatar and embedded it in my personal website, presentations, poster, and tweets :D

For preparing applications

You need to prepare a research statement, teaching statement, and diversity statement. The research statement (~4 pages) summarizes your research experience and your future research plan (for the next 5–6 years). Ask experts within/outside your field to give you feedback.

The teaching statement summarizes your teaching experiences, philosophy, and your future teaching plans (e.g, the courses you would like to teach and design). Eberly Center at CMU provides tons of materials and workshops to help people to build their teaching skills from different perspectives.

For non-native speakers, you might want to ask English professionals to help you to improve your writing. I have asked the great lecturer in the Intercultural Communication Center at CMU to help me to double-check my teaching and diversity statement. I know the Global Communication Center (GCC) at CMU is also really helpful. [well, writing still needs to be improved…]

My thoughts after the long journey:

  • Be patient. My first phone interview was in early December, and my last onsite (virtual) interview was in early April. I made my decision in May.
  • Find your buddies. Thanks to Supreeth Shastri, who created a slack channel for job candidates in 2019, we often shared (sometimes anonymously) our updates of interviews, rejections, or offers. This is really helpful and I have met friends during this journey.
  • Ask for help. I am so grateful to have my advisor and lots of senior researchers (both in CMU ISR and in the SE community) to help me. Whenever I ask for feedback for my application/ job talk, tips for interview/negotiation, and suggestions for making decisions, they never said no to me. So as my title mentioned, I think it is time to repay the community and help others.

I‘ve mostly focused on getting an overview of the academic (Software Engineering/CS) job-hunting process in this 1.0 version. I will update this document later when getting questions related to other stages. Any question/comment/feedback is welcomed!

All the best!