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A Timeline for a Job Search in Mathematics - OCTOBER – UNTIL YOU GET A JOB

Cameron Sawyer
  1. Remind your references that you need those letters of recommendation!
  2. Add your CV and allowable supporting documents to the AMS Electronic Coversheet Service.  This service aids departments in downloading data on the applicants they select. It also allows them to search and browse through the candidates!
  3. Apply for jobs -- but only for jobs that you would be prepared to accept if offered. (Warning: Depending on your flexibility, this may be more than 100 applications and will take some time.) Unless the job advertisement specifically excludes any of these, you should always include the following:
    1. An AMS Standard Coversheet (paper version).
    2. A cover letter specifically stating why you are interested in the advertised position. Have a couple of different versions (depending on the position), and tailor each one to mention things that are particular to that school and/or location. If you will be attending the Joint Mathematics Meeting in January, mention this in your letter.  The importance of this letter cannot be underestimated, although it depends on the institution -- I have heard of some schools not even giving the cover letter to committee members, so repeat crucial information in your CV.
    3. Your CV. Make sure your e-mail, web address, and references are on this.
    4. A teaching statement. If you are applying to a teaching oriented school this is very important.
    5. A research statement. If you are applying to a non-research school, try to explain your research and its importance to a lay person, without using symbols or technical jargon.
    6. Some schools ask for a separate list of five references for contact purposes.
    7. Copies of unofficial transcripts from every school you attended.  You can provide official transcripts once you get the job.
    8. The letters of reference should be sent now.
    Note:  This process may soon be made much simpler for you.  The Mathematics Department of Duke University, in cooperation with the AMS, is developing a database to facilitate the online job application process, MathJobs.Org.  Hopefully, this will take off, and soon all schools will use it!
  4. Send letters to personal contacts. That is, if you know someone at the campus (who you think would give you a positive recommendation), send him or her a letter to let them know that you have sent your application.  They might check to make sure your application was received, or they might even give a personal recommendation to one of the committee members.

Cameron Sawyer, "A Timeline for a Job Search in Mathematics - OCTOBER – UNTIL YOU GET A JOB," Convergence (November 2004)


Journal of Online Mathematics and its Applications