Job Search Tips


A graduate student’s job search should begin at least nine months prior to completion of degree and graduation. Ph.D. students will be equipped to earn a tenured-track position at a Research I institution where the teaching load is 2- and-2 (2 classes each semester). Tenured-track positions generally require a workload distribution of 40% teaching, 40% research, 20% service.

A non-Research I institution will required a 3-and-3 or 4-and-4 teaching load and may or may not be a tenured-track position. The research requirement is greatly diminished but research will still be required. The workload distribution is generally 60% teaching, 20% research, 20% service.

Rarely are master’s graduates offered tenured-track positions. The master’s degree allows a student to teach at most universities (Research I and nonResearch I) as an instructor or adjunct instructor.

Academic conferences are great networking opportunities that lead to employment. These events should be used to network with faculty at desirable universities and with those of similar research interests.

Some Tips

  • You are shopping for a career. Be outgoing, respectful and interested in the work of others.
  • Have your faculty introduce you to people you want to meet or people from desirable universities.
  • Generously hand out business cards. Also, collect business cards from those of interest.
  • Attend conference sessions of interest, and engage those with similar research interests.
  • Researchers that you’ve cited in your research might be at the conference. Approach them and discuss their work. If asked, discuss your work.
  • Take copies of your curriculum vitae (CV) with you to the conference.
  • Some conferences host job interview sessions. Sign-up for interviews with desired universities. Take a CV to the interview.
  • Act and dress professionally. Be a desirable candidate. Faculty members are always searching for good colleagues. Get on their radar.

Job Search Sites

Job boards are good places to start when searching for a tenured-track position. The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) hosts one of the most popular job sites. AEJMC is the most prominent and prestigious academic organization in our field. Any job worth having is advertised in the AEJMC Newsletter and on the AEJMC website.

The International Communication Association is another highly respected and prominent organization. It also has an online job board.

The Chronicle of Higher Education provides a job board but it’s more expansive than AEJMC or ICA. However, there is a search option that will help narrow the offerings.

The National Communication Association hosts Communication, Research, and Theory Network (CRTNET). Subscribers receive daily emails on a variety of subjects, including job postings.

Job Application Process

  1. Cover letter: Clear, concise, try to keep to one page
    1. Discuss how you fit the job description advertised
    2. Highlight research and teaching
    3. Include research agenda and long-term goals
  2. Curriculum Vitae
    1. Provide education, teaching experience (list courses), published research and conference papers presented
    2. Do not mix journal articles and book chapters
    3. Include professional work (previous resume)
  3. Research statement (What’s your research program/theme?)
  4. Teaching statement (Plus evidence of teaching effectiveness)
  5. References (typically three)
  6. Some programs ask for writing samples

Making the Short List

  1. Phone interview questions
    1. Traditional questions
      1. Your research interests
      2. Teaching interests
      3. Your dissertation
      4. What you know about our program, etc.
    2. Personality test
      1. Are you a good listener?
      2. Are you organizer?
      3. Are you a problem-solver?
      4. Are you a good colleague?
  2. Committee members will call references or request reference letters. Be sure to notify references that they’ve been listed.


  1. Finalists will provide a teaching presentation
  2. Finalists will provide a research presentation
  3. Usually a city tour with a real estate agent will be included
  4. Exit interview (usually with committee or Dean or Chair)

Be Prepared

  1. Have you done your homework about us (memorize names, connections, research interests and major publications)
  2. Which of our classes do you want to teach?
  3. What research projects are you working on right now?
  4. Will you finish your dissertation soon?
  5. Questions to ask:
    1. Tenure (research) expectations
    2. Teaching load
    3. Service load
    4. Working with graduate students
    5. Retirement benefits
    6. Health insurance (when does it start?)
    7. Parking on campus
    8. Housing
    9. Office equipment
    10. Research support (travel funding, research assistant, hardware and software)
    11. Where do your students get jobs?
    12. What your students are like?

Additional Tips

  1. If you only want to teach graduate classes/students, or non-skill classes, the interview is over. As a new faculty member, you do not have the right to make such demands.
  2. You are watched by everyone all the time. Don’t get drunk. Don’t order room service.
  3. Dress professionally.
  4. The “lunch test.” Are you someone others would invite to lunch?
  5. Are you a good colleague?
  6. Do you get along with our graduate and undergraduate students?