There are no hard and fast rules about when to begin your job search. In general, students should wait until they are close to a complete draft of their thesis until they apply for a tenure-track position. When entering the academic job market, a job candidate should ideally be able to demonstrate participation in a range of scholarly activities, including conference participation and, if possible, publishing.
The North American academic tenure-track job market operates on a clearly defined cycle. The job ‘season’ begins in August, with most advertisements posted by November. The U.S. cycle tends to start and end earlier, whereas Canadian tenure-track jobs may have deadlines later in the school year, sometimes as late as February or March. A second cycle, for one-year appointments, runs from February through to April, although advertisements can appear as late as June. Positions in Europe and Australia are advertised all year round, but tend to peak in spring and early summer.
Graduate Placement Coordinator
The starting place for any PhD student beginning a job search is the Graduate Placement Coordinator’s office. The Graduate Placement Coordinator is appointed by the department to counsel students on the job search process. The Graduate Placement Coordinator offers advice on writing cover letters, preparing writing samples, compiling curricula vita, securing letters of recommendation, and arranging mock job talks and interviews. Professor Jonathan Craft and Professor Michael Donnelly are currently the Department’s Graduate Placement Coordinators.
Doctoral students should develop a plan for their entry into the job market. The Graduate Placement Coordinator can offer advice on the best time to begin a job search. You should also consult your dissertation adviser.