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Terry over at Small Pond Science recently argued that many PhDs weren’t exploiting the job market to its fullest, applying only for jobs that show up in Science, Nature, etc., and viewing other position as “below” their (self-perceived) standing.  The comments section gave some other concrete examples of searches cancelled because of too few qualified candidates, or searches with only 5-6 candidates that would even be considered.

That’s not been my experience.  As I wrote in the comments, I don’t think I’ve ever applied for a job advertised in Science or Nature because the job either shows up in one of my other searches, or it was obviously not a good fit.

I have a routine, and it’s been this way for the last 3ish years.  I tend to do the job search rounds on Saturday mornings with my mug(s) of hot tea (or a whole pot – I know, living on the edge), and CBC Radio 2 in the background while everyone else is still asleep.  After reading Terry’s post, I wondered about others’ search strategies.  Like many other practical skills in academia, how to search for a job is rarely taught explicitly, and is something that we all sort of figure out on our own.  No doubt, many of us have reinvented the wheel, and developed the same strategies (which we thought were ours, and ours alone).

So here’s mine.  My search is tailored to what kind of job I want, and where I want to work.  For example, I’m not seeking a position in the US, so I don’t check in on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s job listing (though when I did up until a few years ago, there were regularly 40-80 jobs listed each week in “biology”).

Probably my main source of academic job adverts are from two e-mail lists: University Affairs (daily), and jobs.ac.uk (weekly).  More often than not, there’s nothing of interest, but for mainstream jobs at most Canadian (and British) universities, these are probably the most comprehensive.

My main Saturday Morning Job Search consists of just over 60 websites (as of last Saturday) that span the range from academic, government, non-profit, Canadian, and international.  I’ve put the full list below.  If there’s enough interest, and folks find it useful (and other readers have other sites that they check), I’d consider making it a separate page on the blog, so let me know in the comments, via Twitter, or e-mail.

There’s a few Canadian universities (those that I have an active interest in working at, for various personal and professional reasons; not to say that others aren’t on the radar, bit I catch them in other searches), federal and provincial government listings, a few international opportunities (mostly in Europe), and a smattering of non-profits, or those that cover non-traditional academic jobs (e.g., museums, zoos, academic publishing).  There’s also the job board on the Ornithology Exchange (and the BirdJobs-L listserv), but since that tends to be, by and large, for US jobs, I don’t check them that often.

I started following the job market almost as soon as I started my PhD (in part because some postdoc jobs are advertised in these places), and I’ve been actively applying for jobs for almost 3 years now.  I’m fairly confident that I’m not missing much for which I’d be both qualified and interested.  Hopefully one of these days, something will work out.

Current Saturday Morning Job Search sites:


Canadian Universities & Colleges


Non-University Canadian organizations

Canadian Federal & Provincial Government