[Computational Complexity] Finding Academic Jobs
An anonymous student writes
I am applying for academic jobs this year. How does one come to know about them? Basically the only source I know is the CRA website. DMANET mailing list is also helpful. [And then there is word of mouth—but that seems to favor a privileged few.]Most CS departments list their faculty positions in the CRA News and CACM and many job positions also get distributed over the DMANET and THEORYNT mailing lists. Also check out the departmental home pages of any university where you might have interest. Even if there is no ad you can apply to any department by sending an email to the chair with the usual supporting material (CV, research statement, teaching statement and list of references), though if the department's web page has specific instructions better to follow those. Get all your applications submitted by December 31 no matter how late the stated deadline.
I think the way CRA puts ads on its website could be improved a lot. Right now every university puts its ad in unstructured text. Now if I want to know which university has what deadlines I have to manually sift through their ads and the deadline could be anywhere in the text (if it's there at all). Similarly, there are many other attributes that one might want to use as search criteria: such as type of position being advertised, do they need material in hard copy, or in email, or does one need to fill a web form. I think if this were there it'd save some time.
But I think one could go further; though I understand it's probably rather hard to implement what I am going to suggest for all sorts of reasons. Why not make the whole process centralized. At present one has to fill up the forms on the web for many universities which can be really painful. And then sometimes they ask the letter writers to also fill a form. Hard copies or emails are not much better either. What if there were a centralized trusted server where one applicants could submit their information along with the universities where they wanted to apply? And then their application would be delivered to those universities. This would save a lot of pain for everyone.
Don't limit yourself to departments specifically mentioning theory as they will sometimes hire in theory once they fail to find suitable candidates in other areas. You might also consider positions overseas, while professor positions are difficult to find in most countries, there are more postdoc opportunities outside the US. Also consider a broad range of universities in the US, they might have a higher teaching load but you can still have a successful research career.
Make sure your own home page (pointed to on your CV) has on-line versions of all your papers, contact information, CV and the rest of your supporting material.
A standardized database for recruiting would make life easier for all involved but don't hold your breath.
Posted by Lance to Computational Complexity at 11/10/2006 09:30:00 AM