Monday, January 1, 2007

Paper Clips vs. Staples

Because one can never be too careful

Questions, Answers and such regarding the assembly of dossiers, mailing practices, letters of application, etc.

A couple of sometimes useful, and always entertaining, sites to check out are the Chronicle of Higher Education's Fora:

The Job Seeking Experience

The Interview Process

The threads are often not apposite, but they can be a treasure-trove of laughs and morale boosts.

Hopefully the comments section here will eventually provide more APA/AIA-specific help.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Trying to figure out whether or not I should stay in the "official" hotel, which costs a bundle. I am thinking of crashing on a friend's couch in Hyde Park in order to save money. Is there any reason a candidate needs to actually stay in the hotel where the conference is? Any thoughts from those who have gone through this process before?
Thanks, -Jim

Anonymous said...

Not really. Just make sure to check the notice boards at the Placement Service every day -- some institutions schedule interviews without informing candidates before the conference.

Jennifer said...

I found it was nice being in the official hotel last year because I could go back to my room and chill/crash between interviews. I stayed in a cheaper, more distant hotel in Montreal when I wasn't on the market, and even then it was kind of a drag. It is expensive, but I recommend being close to the action when you're on the market -- if your morning cuppa joe ends up on your shirt-front, proximity to your wardrobe could be a great blessing.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with Jennifer. Being able to retreat quickly to your room when you need to, emergency or not, is well worth the extra cost!

Anonymous said...

Slightly random -- what's the standard for fancy resume/cover letter paper? Last year I used it for some and not others and didn't see any corresponding trends in where I got interviews. But, then again, I'm back on the market this year, so maybe the nice stuff is worth it?

Anonymous said...

The argument for not using fancy paper is that most places photocopy the files anyway, in which case the search comm. doesn't ever see the paper you send. Of course, if it makes you feel better using it, then do it. One of the hardest things about this process is the utter lack of control candidates seem to have. But here is one aspect of it that you actually can control, so doing so might give you a lift psychologically. $20 on nice paper seems to be a decent investment if that is a possible reward. YMMV.

Anonymous said...

Just received the acknowledgment of receipt of materials letter from Purdue, who included a form asking how I wish to be contacted -- is email OK? office phone? home phone? What a great idea! A couple of years ago, an institution wanting to invite me to campus decided not to leave a message on voicemail, but contact my dept's AA, who in turn gave out my home phone number. It's nice to see that Purdue is taking steps to safeguard candidates' privacy. Hope more institutions will do the same.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I noticed that about Purdue as well. I thanked them for their courtesy in the comments section. For most people, hopefully, the paranoia isn't necessary, but if it does happen to be, that can make a big difference in dealing with one's current institution.

Jennifer said...

I did think it a bit odd with the Purdue thing that the letter asking my permission to mail things to the office was ... mailed to the office. Which is the address I gave them, so no biggie, but ... maybe email would be the best way to deal with these issues? It's my hope that more schools will move to doing the application process electronically anyway -- I've been able to send more through email this year than last, so I'm hopeful that trend is happening.

A new question: I'm currently writing a cover letter to a school where I know someone, not really well, but well enough that I wonder if I ought to give a shout-out. What's the protocol for that?

Anonymous said...

Reply to Jennifer regarding contact at hiring department:

First off, are you asking whether to give them a "shout out" in your cover letter? If so, my own thinking is "No, don't do it". You don't want to put them in an odd spot, and you don't know what the politics of the search and its committee are.

Or are you asking whether you should drop them a line via email, or to call and say hello, privately? I think this largely depends on how well you know them. If only in passing, I would counsel against it. But if you are friendly enough to email or call in any case, regardless of whether you were applying to the job, then why not? I assume it is just a friendly hello, and not an overt push for info or advantage.

Does this make sense? Other, more experienced commenters might say something different.

Anonymous said...

I think that the private email is a better approach, possibly with the official pretext of asking more about the job. So, for instance, I would definitely email a contact at BigNameU to say, "hey, the search says 'open but especially interested in underwater basket-weaving.' If I scuba dive frequently but have never actually woven a basket, is it worth applying, or are they really focused on the crafting aspect?" If things go well, that also lets your contact tell her/his colleagues, "hey, keep an eye out for so-and-so's application."

I wish the world didn't work by networking, but it does. It's still better than the old system where professors just funneled out advisees to each other.

Anonymous said...

Regarding whether to stay at the hotel, do remember that this is Chicago in the winter, and you risk messing up your dressy footwear if you have to walk through snow or slush at any point in your journey to an interview. And even if you are a man and can get away with wearing galoshes (does anyone wear those these days?), where would you put them during the interview?

Anonymous said...

Ditto the last post about slush. Montreal nearly ruined a pair of shoes for me, and my hotel was less than a block away from the con site.

Anonymous said...

In retrospect, I was being way too generous with my suggestion of considering footwear issues when deciding where to stay. It's actually in my interest that everyone else interviewing for the jobs I'm up for walk into their interviews with their shoes falling apart. So, on further consideration, from now on I'm only going to give bad advice...

Which reminds me: it's proper form when meeting the interview committee to kiss each member on both cheeks, and to do the same when leaving.

I might give you a job said...

Dear anonymous 3:53am (burning the midnight oil prepping for interviews, we see)

I want to hire the most impoverished graduate students, figuring they will work harder and be happier for having any job whatsoever. So if you come into our hotel suite with nice shiny footwear, no job for you! But if you come with newspaper wrapped around your feet, then we can stop the interview and begin the negotiations. Moreover, if you give me kisses so that I smell the fact that you can't afford even deodorant, then I will raise your start-up funds considerably.

Anonymous said...

As a point of etiquette, should we respond to invitations for interviews? Obviously this is most applicable to email requests.

The Other Finalist said...

Replying to Interview Requests:

A brief acknowledgment/"looking forward to it" is appropriate.

It is also a good thing to ask them for an emergency contact number in case something happens in Chicago. I would also ask them who will be at the interview. It was nice knowing whether I would be interviewing with 3 people or 9 people ahead of time, and who they were going to be.

SC members might be better equipped to chime in here, but that is my .02.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

As re "The Other Finalist":

If notified by email, a simple "thank you very much; I look forward to talking with you" suffices.

If my snail mail (if anyone does this any more), you don't need to respond.

Do not, however, ask them who will be there. This falls squarely into the category of none of your business. Expect faculty from the department. That's all. I've had interviews with three, and interviews with ten.

Most SCs are about three people. But other faculty, if present and available, may and will likely attend. But we may not be there for all of them. Perhaps we have a meeting, or we're giving a paper. You might get three, or six, or eight.

Don't ask. They won't know right now, and if you ask you will sound pushy and panicky. Prepare for the whole contingent.

Anonymous said...

Good lord, I am on a SC, and I would recommend NOT asking who will be there. Expect most of the department for a SLAC and a few of the usual suspects for an R1 (e.g., those who have been on search committees over and over for the past decade or so). but as a previous poster comments, if you ask, you are likely going to appear nervous and panicky.

The Other Finalist said...

Ah, see! I give bad advice and I end up taking it as well. That is why I am always The Other Finalist!

:0-)

Good luck to everyone, and see you all in Chicago soon!