Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars »

Academic Job Search

It’s All About Their Timetable

The academic job search is an unyielding process, and it is only through having knowledge about the academic landscape and typical hiring cycle that you can effectively plan your time and successfully produce all of the written materials that will be the foundation of your applications.

What is a Typical Academic job Search Hiring Cycle?

You will want to check with informed members of your department to learn about specific dates and timelines that are reflective of the hiring cycle in your discipline. There are definitely variations on a theme, but a typical hiring cycle for jobs in academia unfolds as follows:

Late Summer-Early Fall


Job openings are posted in:

  • professional society journals and/or designated career section of a society’s web site;
  • on-line resources that focus on jobs in academia and via departmental connections;
  • employment section of an institution’s web site and/or on the departmental web pages.


  • Dossier materials are usually submitted to the hiring committee.



  • First-round interviews often occur at a national convention for your field.


  • On-campus interviews occur for a select group of finalists.


March and Beyond

  • Offers are made with one’s appointment beginning at the start of the following academic year in August/September.

When Do I Begin?

Review the Academic Job Search Timetable.

Begin preparing for your job search as early as two years before the completion of your dissertation, and don’t despair if you are already feeling behind, because sometimes lost ground can be readily gained once one’s attention is on the next steps of the job search. Also, if scrambling to get prepared just isn’t a possibility right now, students often share that they have greater success when they go on the market the next year after being fully prepared.

Watch the Academic Job Search Interview Panel to learn more about the Academic Job Search interview process.

Note: In order to determine by when you will need to accomplish various action steps you need to identify the year of the fall in which your desired position would begin.

Example: If you desire to begin a teaching position in September 2017, then you would want to, at a minimum, begin preparing for your job search as early as September 2015.

Creating a strong job search dossier that is ready to submit by the launch of the hiring cycle, takes considerable time to develop. You will need to have relevant experiences to make it strong, and you will need a few months to craft and assemble the individual materials for the required applications.