Launching an Academic Job Search

When considering options, it is good to understand the different expectations and commitments for tenure track, non-tenure track, lecturer, visiting scholar, adjunct, academic administrator, postdoctoral scholar, and staff researcher. Each institution has a unique mission and emphasis on research, teaching and service. Given the level of competition, it is important you understand these differences and the job prospects in your field. Here are some things to consider doing:

  • Do your research.
  • Work with your advisor and mentors.
  • Be strategic. Take advantage of the multiple professional and career development resources available on campus, through GradPathways (Graduate Studies).
  • Develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP) early so you have a plan that will help you navigate and make the most of your graduate school and/or postdoc years. For those in STEM or biomedical fields, is an excellent tool to use to complete self-assessments, research career opportunities and complete an IDP.
  • Learn which academic institution is the best fit for you. To gain a better understanding of the differences between working in a 4-year comprehensive, state or community college, conduct your own informational interview.
  • Learn more about what a postdoc position entails from UC Davis postdocs who share tips and suggestions along with additional resources.
  • Make an appointment with an ICC career advisor for guidance and help.


Begin developing your application packet, including curriculum vitae (CV), cover letter, teaching philosophy statement, research statement and also potentially a diversity statement at least three months before being "on the market." Summer is an excellent time to do this.

For academic teaching positions, the first job announcements typically appear in the summer or early fall of the year before the position starts. In order to be successful in your job search, all of the materials will need to be completed well in advance of the start of the job cycle. Due to the tight job market and competition for faculty positions, you will want your application to be a polished final version by August. This means drafting, redrafting, and redrafting again, getting feedback all along the way from your faculty advisor, mentors, and colleagues.

Make an appointment with an ICC career advisor for guidance and help.

Academic Job Search Websites