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Surviving Your Academic Job Hunt: Advice for Humanities PhDs 2nd ed. 2011 Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0230109469
ISBN-10: 0230109462
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This 'survival manual' should be required reading for every doctoral student in the humanities who intends to pursue an academic career. In a realistic rather than idealistic approach, Professor Hume offers under one cover candid information not only for ABD's about to enter the job market but also for assistant professors during their first years in a tenure-track appointment. Written in engaging prose, this volume is a road map for success that stretches from sage advice for conference and campus interviews to departmental politics. The appendix contains many model examples of letters of application and of documents that doctoral students must submit when applying for their first faculty position." - Edward V. Williams, Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University

"Deft, detailed, unerring, candid, upbeat, and filled with examples (including sample CVs and cover letters appropriate to various fields in the humanities, with variations for applying to schools that emphasize teaching and institutions emphasizing research), this is the best book of its kind that I've ever seen. It will be essential to job hunters all across the humanities. Those who own a copy and follow its counsel will enhance their employment prospects about tenfold. Those who don't will find themselves at a tremendous disadvantage. Highly recommended to graduate students, untenured junior faculty, and their mentors." - David Cowart, Louise Fry Scudder Professor of Humanities, University of South Carolina

About the Author

Kathryn Hume is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English at The Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of Fantasy and Mimesis: Responses to Reality in Western Literature; Pynchon's Mythography: An Approach to Gravity's Rainbow; Calvino's Fictions: Cogito and Cosmos; and American Dream, American Nightmare: Fiction Since 1960.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 227 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 2nd ed. 2011 edition (December 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230109462
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230109469
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #562,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This guide was invaluable during my recent successful academic job search. My heavily underlined copy of the first edition was so well used that I bought a second copy when the spine broke. I own a couple of other guides for academic job hunters and this is the best one for humanities PhDs by far. The other ones often get bogged down in material on STEM fields that's just not relevant for humanists.

Hume demystifies the academic job market using anecdotes and examples drawn from her experiences as a placement director. The book clearly lays out what job hunters should expect at every stage of the process from the appearance of job ads in the fall to negotiating your first job offer. She provides concrete and straightforward advice on how to draft your job documents (with examples), prepare for conference/phone interviews, and even navigate your new department as an assistant professor. The lists of interview questions that one might encounter are particularly useful (practice, practice, practice!). I would even go so far as to recommend that new PhD students read this, along with Gregory Colon Semenza's Graduate Study for the Twenty-First Century, their first year of graduate school so that they get a good understanding of what they'll encounter in a few years.

This book is a road map through the often confusing, sometimes brutal humanities job market, and I honestly can't imagine being on the market without it.
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Format: Paperback
I'm a tenured English professor working happily in my field at a state university, thanks to the advice found in this book (first edition). Without it, I would have been lost. The second edition contains important updates, but the value of the content remains the same. You can't simply follow your own intuition when entering the crazy world of academic job hunting, as Hume shows. Her guidance on how to prepare application documents is priceless. She gives numerous valuable tips on how to prepare for a cattle-call conference interview and also on how to handle on-campus interviews. The book contains wonderfully specific advice on how to ask questions, including what not to ask or say (like never responding to an interviewer's query with "that's a good question"). All of these tips worked beautifully for me, and they are not the kinds of things that I was likely to think of on my own. The many examples given in the book also helped to take the stress out of the whole process. I followed Hume's instructions to the letter and received several job offers for tenure-track positions in my first year on the job market. Now that I have been on the other side of the interviewing process, I value this book even more and recommend it to my graduate students. Hume's advice on "the politics of being an assistant professor" can also help you to avoid some of the pitfalls that are easy to fall into when you are new to a department and university. Achieving tenure is about more than just being a good scholar, as Hume makes clear; it's also about navigating in a new environment. If you want a job as a professor in the humanities, and you want to do well after you get hired, your first step should be to buy this book and read it cover to cover.
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By AJC on February 28, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some aspects of the job market have changed since this book was written, but there is a lot of valuable information in this book aside from those things... especially for those of us whose departments/advisors haven't prepared us at all for the interviewing and beyond. The book is thorough, including sample letters/CVs/etc., examples of things that happened to people on the job market that the author knows, and chapters on how to approach the job once you've landed it.
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Format: Paperback
If you're going on the market, you need expert advice. Hopefully, your advisor/supervisor can guide you through a lot of the process. However, it's always nice to have another perspective, and that's where I found this book really helpful. (Regarding my background, I just secured an Asst. Prof. job and am quite pleased. Of course it'd be silly to say that my success was all due to the book. At the same time, I'm confident that the book helped me become a more prepared candidate.)

I'm not a humanities PhD, and so some of the material was not relevant (e.g., in my field, we don't do preliminary interviews at conferences). But that's fine, because the book is organized clearly enough where you can pick and choose what to read, as needed. I loved the matter-of-fact tone throughout, and picked up useful tidbits here and there. For me, the chapters on the economics and politics of being an assistant professor were especially informative, as I hadn't thought too much about many of the covered topics. Even if you're only on the market, reading these chapters is useful because you get a perspective of what your job might be like (and if you still want it). Additionally, you can gain insight into the point of view of assistant profs with whom you may interview.

Another nice feature of the book is it has lists of potential interview questions. It's nice to be exposed to all of these questions, even if you don't have time to thoroughly prepare for all of them.

All in all, this book is a great resource for academic job hunters, even those not in the humanities.
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