First Official Rejection Letter

Mid-December, I finished applying to faculty positions (well, for the most part … there might be one or two more applications I submit).  The academic job market “calendar” is as follows:

  1. Deadlines for submitting applications: September through February.  Some schools have a “soft” deadline followed by a “hard” deadline, with only one of those dates really posted.  The application consists of a CV, a research statement, and a teaching statement.  Some schools additionally require a “diversity statement” or a list of publications (which is a subset of your CV, so why can’t they just look at that?)  I also submitted a cover letter for every school (not mandatory, but probably expected).  I spent about 1 hour to write each cover letter.  The most important document in this application is the CV, but the one I spent the most time on was my research statement.
  2. The phone and/or Skype screening: December through February.  Of all of their applications (in the hundreds), they select a few to be phone interviewed.  I’m not sure what the exact numbers are, but I think each school may phone screen maybe 5 – 25 applicants.
  3. The on-site: Jan/Feb through April-ish? You go there, give a talk, and meet with people.  Some schools only let you get to this stage if they really really like you (inviting only one or two per open position), and at others, you are still in a rather large pool (10 on-sites with one offer).
  4. Offers are made shortly after all on-sites, and they pretty much expect an answer right away (or, so is the experience of people I know).

Note the overlap and large time windows.  Oh, and the schools that aren’t interested … they usually don’t even let you know.

Back to the purpose of the post: today, I received my first rejection letter.  But, I take this as a good sign for two reasons (1) In this particular department, I ranked among the top 125 of the 539 applicants.  (2) this means that schools are starting to make decisions about whom they want to interview.

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