The Office of Career Services provides services and resources to meet the specific needs of GSAS students and alumni who are following both academic and nonacademic career pathways.

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Get the Inside Scoop on Finding a Faculty Position

Posted Wednesday, 05 October 2011

The Office of Career Services and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are offering a number of don’t-miss events this year as part of their ongoing Becoming Faculty career series. These special programs run through the end of January and are geared toward helping graduate students in GSAS prepare for the academic job search.

The series offers an excellent opportunity for students to get “feedback and a broader perspective on the academic job market, as well as to ask questions they may not [otherwise] feel comfortable asking,” says Laura Malisheski, the assistant director and coordinator for graduate student advising in Harvard’s Office of Career Services.

One of the main benefits of the series is that students get to hear directly from faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, recent PhDs, and advanced graduate students now on the job market — all of whom share their expertise and first-hand experience. The fall semester in particular is an important time, as many PhD candidates begin the process of preparing their dossiers and applying for fellowships and positions that are posted in late summer and early fall.

Becoming Faculty events complement the job search assistance provided by many GSAS departments. This year’s program will again include such popular panel discussions as The View from the Search Committee (October 18, 4:30 p.m., Dudley House), which features a panel of faculty members (see below) from different fields discussing the criteria by which they evaluate candidates for faculty positions. In January, OCS will present Real-Life Stories from the Academic Job Search (January 11, 4:30 p.m., Dudley House), where recently hired Harvard PhDs offer their advice on navigating the job market for a variety of academic positions.

Cynthia Verba, director of fellowships in GSAS, has organized several of the Becoming Faculty events, including a December session, Strategies for Getting from Beginning to End of the Dissertation (December 5, 4 p.m., Dudley House).

The series also features several hands-on workshops covering a wide range of topics — from assembling CVs and cover letters to preparing for campus visits. Workshops typically host anywhere from 20–40 students, while panel discussions have had as many as 80–100 attendees in past years.

Generally, the series gives graduate students helpful strategies for dealing with the potential hurdles of a challenging job market, as well as an overview of trends and directions they might consider as they plot their futures.

For instance, explains Malisheski, “interdisciplinary positions are becoming much more common. Students want to maximize the types of departments that they might apply to, so having the experience of hearing from and talking to academics in a variety of fields is really helpful.”

For more information about Becoming Faculty events and the most current schedule, please visit

To view the Office of Career Service’s online tutorial “Going on the Market,” go to

Events Preview:


The View from the Search Committee
Tuesday, October 18
4:30-6:00pm (refreshments will be served)
Dudley House Common Room


Jim Alt (Government)
Kathleen Coleman (The Classics)
Katy Park (History of Science)
Werner Sollors (English & African and African American Studies)


Publishing in Books and Scholarly Journals
Tuesday, November 8, 4-5:30 p.m.
Dudley House Common Room

Preparing for Campus Visits
Thursday, November 17, 10-11:30 a.m.
OCS Conference Room, 54 Dunster St.


Story credit: Joanna Grossman