Academic Careers

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Are you preparing to apply to academic jobs with your PhD? You may find it useful to know the key steps to creating job application materials, delivering engaging stories in academic interviews, and navigating the complex job market within the academy.

This page offers information to supplement the technical and specific support given by departments. Use it to guide your strategies for success.

Negotiate Your Offer

Reviewing a Job Offer

During your onsite interview, be prepared to discuss some “must-haves.”. When you receive a job offer, here are some standard parts you might address:

  • Salary and benefits
  • Relocation money and support for housing
  • Potential summer obligations (e.g., is summer teaching is required or do summer courses count towards teaching course load requirements)
  • Start-up funds and other funding opportunities if applicable (e.g., consider lab/center requests, have a list of supplies and estimated dollar amounts, consider if you will need a graduate student(s) working with you, inquire about summer research funds or fellowships that could be given by the institution)


Negotiating for Success

Evaluate your needs and what it would take for you to say yes. It is important to be able to ask for what you want so you can be happy. Before you ask to negotiate, you can make your intentions clear by saying something like“I am delighted to have an offer from your university because it is where I ideally see myself being.” Try not to impact the relationship forged. 

Understand the risks. By negotiating for more, you open up the door for them to say they are no longer interested. Come prepared to back up your reasoning and requests with evidence (e.g., highlight your skills and the potential you bring).

Make sure your requests are within reason. Be aware of the institution’s limits. Before you negotiate, see if that institution does negotiations. For example, some schools and community colleges maintain policies which dictate they offer salaries based on system-mandated or union-approved salary schedules which makes them unable to negotiate salaries. Be honest about other offers that are on the table. Some universities have a matching program and will match an offer you get from another school with theirs. 

Make sure comparisons between offers from different institutions are reasonable. If you receive a job offer from one school, the package you were offered may not be a fair comparison to another job offer due to the different type of school (e.g., R1 vs. professional school).


Exploring a Dual Hire

Many universities will make accommodations and consider dual hires. Keep in mind that a dual hire can be seen as an opportunity to get two really great candidates. Whether your partner is in the same field, seeking a professorship, or university staff position, there are opportunities. Timing is the biggest and most concerning issue for two academic job seekers. Here are some general guidelines:

Dual Academic Positions:

Your partner needs to be done with their Ph.D. They also need to have competitive experiences within their own discipline and a CV that reflects that. You both should enter the job market and make efforts independently. It is not advantageous to send your application materials in together in the same packet. Similarly, it is not necessary to mention your spouse in your cover letter.

General Dual Hires:

There is no clear rule for when you should mention your spouse. It is up to you to determine what is best for your circumstances. We recommend talking to your advisor and other professors to get feedback on what may be good for your field or situation.


When to Share Your Dual-Hire Situation

You have the option to disclose your situation to the university before and after you receive a job offer. Here are the pros and cons for each:

During your meeting with the Dean at your onsite interview. It may be beneficial to disclose at this time because the dean is still in the planning stages of figuring out a good package for you and what it would take for you to say yes to the offer. 

  • Pro: This gives the dean or university time to see if they can make something work with another department or within the department. 
  • Con: The dean may determine that they do not want to extend an offer because they can not make accommodations work

After receiving your job offer. This may be beneficial for you because you have secured at least one employment opportunity. 

  • Pro: You ideally have more bargaining power since they extended you an offer and will want to do what they can to get you to say yes. 
  • Con: You may have missed a window of opportunity for there to be discussions between departments about the possibility of a spousal hire.


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