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Academic Career Resource Guide

Eric Ciechanowski
By Eric Ciechanowski
Last Updated: September 08, 2020
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A career in academia, whether it involves teaching classes, conducting research or heading a department, can prove to be immensely rewarding. It also can provide the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of students and the community in general. The competition can be fierce, the hours can be long and the learning curve can be steep. But if you’re dedicated and passionate an academic career is within reach. And we put this guide together to help you achieve your aspiration to work in academia. Inside you’ll find some 50 individual resources, including CV resources, job search resources, academic blogs and more. Wherever you are in your academic career – whether you’re just getting started or you’re a seasoned professor – you’re sure to find something of value.

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General Academic Career Resources

The following resources make for an excellent starting point when beginning a career in academia.

What Is Academia? – If you’re just starting to consider an academic career, this article can serve as a useful introduction to the academic world. It explains exactly what academia is, describes the fields of study included in academia and outlines the professional hierarchy of academic careers.

Industry or Academia? A Counterpoint – Nick Feamster, current professor at Princeton University and former research intern at AT&T and Hewlett-Packard, describes the benefits of careers in both the private sector and academia through the lens of his experience.

Academia vs. Industry: The Difference Is in the Punctuation Marks – This article published by the Harvard Business Review discusses the key differences between a career in academia and a career in the private sector.

USA, Academic Career Structure – The European University Institute provides a comprehensive introduction to academic career structure within the U.S., from position requirements to job security.

The Academic Job Search Timeline – This detailed timeline published by Office of Intramural Training and Education can give you a good idea of what to expect when preparing to pursue a career in academia.

Finding a Job in Academia – This resource from Brown University covers various academic career paths, crucial steps to take when starting your job search and careers at both community and four-year colleges.

Your First Academic Job – William Helmreich, a professor of more than 35 years, reflects on his experience hiring assistant professors in order to explain how you can increase your chances of landing an academic job.

From PhD to Professor – Newly minted tenure-track assistant professor Johanna Greeson shares her advice for other aspiring professors.

The Transition from Graduate Student to Assistant Professor – This overview, published by the University of California, Berkeley, discusses the different types of academic professions and what each position involves.

Six Strategies for Moving into Academia – Here you’ll find an extensive explanation of how to modify your job search strategies when transitioning from the a career in the private sector to an academic career.

CV Resources

Before you can pursue an academic career, you’ll need to craft a curriculum vitae, otherwise known as a CV. A CV is a must-have when applying for jobs in academia.

CV vs. Resume: The Difference and When to Use Which – If you’re completely unfamiliar with CVs, start with this brief description of the fundamental differences between a CV and a resume.

CV vs. Resume – Here Are the Differences – A more in-depth explanation of the differences between a CV and a resume.

Dr. Karen’s Rules of the Academic CV – Former tenured professor and current published author Karen Kelsky goes over general guidelines for creating a professional and compelling CV.

Academic CVs: 10 Irritating Mistakes – This article published by The Guardian describes what not to do when writing your CV.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) Samples and Writing Tips – Learn what to include and what not to include, study several different samples and get writing advice.

Curriculum Vitae Format – This comprehensive article details the various do’s and don’ts of CV formatting.

Examples of Good and Bad CVs – If you prefer to learn by example, take a look at the University of Kent’s interactive samples of both good and bad CVs, which includes tips on how to correct mistakes.

Academic Job Search Resources

Now that your CV is in the works, you’re ready to start looking for open positions. These resources can help you to prepare for the hiring process and find jobs near you.

Average Faculty Salaries by Field and Rank – Use this detailed set of data to get a general idea of how much you can expect to make depending on your field of expertise.

Academic Job Search – The Hiring Process From The Other Side – Before you apply for a position, you should have a good idea of what you’re getting into. This article from the University of California, Berkeley extensively explains every aspect of the hiring process.

Tips for Applying to Faculty Positions – Professor Patricia Culligan at Columbia University describes everything you’ll need to include when applying for a job in higher education.

Academic360 – This website has a variety of listings in a variety of departments, such as human resources, administration and faculty.

AcademicKeys – Here you can find job listings, post listings, access career resources or view featured employers.

HigherEdJobs – Contains listings for more than 38,000 jobs at more than 2,000 institutions.

Chronicle Vitae – Chronicle Vitae, a service of The Chronicle of Higher Education, allows you to easily search for academic careers either in the U.S. or overseas.

Academic Careers Online – A global career database where you can submit your resume, search jobs and receive email notifications of new listings based on your preferences.

Community College Career Resources

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in academia, you may want to consider applying for positions at community colleges, as well as 4-year universities. These resources can help you to learn more about what it’s like to work at a community college.

How Much Do Community College Instructors Make? – Find out what kind of salary you can expect to make as a community college instructor.

A Community College Teaching Career – This article from the Modern Language Association thoroughly explores every aspect of teaching at a community college, from position characteristics to sample interview questions.

How the Job Search Differs at Community Colleges – An in-depth explanation of the community college job search process from start to finish.

Community Colleges Might Not Be for You – Rob Jenkins, an associate professor at Georgia State University Perimeter College, lists possible reasons why a community college career may not be right for you.

Teaching at a Community College: Some Personal Observations – John Ball, a history professor who transitioned from teaching at a four-year university to teaching at a community college, shares his experiences and insights.

Tips for Faculty Job Seekers at Community Colleges – Matt Reed, vice president of learning at Brookdale Community College, gives eight pieces of valuable advice to those hoping to land a position at a community college.

Community College Jobs – This website makes it easy for you to search for open positions at community colleges by department, location or job type.

College Administration Career Resources

If you’re more interested in being an administrator than a professor, a career in college administration might be a good fit for you. The following resources explore the world of college administration and can help you get your administrative career started.

Administrators in Higher Education Salaries – The findings of this survey reveal the average salaries of 190 administrative positions.

Expanding Your Options: Pursuing Jobs in Academic Administration – This article from Columbia University outlines the different types of administrative jobs, pros and cons of working as an administrator, the administrative hiring process and more.

Academic Career Preparation Guide – Get perspective and examples that will help you get started on your academic career preparation. The advice provided here is focused on U.S. institutions but it is mostly relatable around the world.

College Administrator – In addition to other information, this article published by The Princeton Review provides a detailed look at the daily life of a college administrator.

Breaking Into Administration – Com here to find out how you can increase your chances of scoring a job in college administration.

So, You Think You Want to Be an Administrator? – An associate director at the College of New Jersey shares everything that aspiring first-time administrators need to know when applying to an administrative position.

Administrative Position – Browse thousands of open administrative jobs.

Academic Tenure Resources

For those who are just beginning their career in academia, getting tenured may seem like a mysterious, unattainable dream. These resources delve deep into the reality of tenure and can better prepare you for your path to becoming tenured.

AAUP – Tenure – If you want to go straight to the source, read this definition of tenure published by the American Association of University Professors, which is widely considered to be the industry standard.

The Truth About Tenure in Higher Education – The National Education Association addresses and debunks several myths about tenure.

The Real Life of a Tenure Track Faculty Person – This blog posts explains what it’s really like to have a tenure track position, and may be able to help you decide if tenure is something you want to actively pursue.

How To Get Tenure at a Major Research University – If you’ve decided that you’re serious about getting tenured, specifically at a research university, you might want to read the advice of Sean Carroll, a physicist at the California Institute of Technology.

How Hard Is It to Get Tenure? – Former tenured professor Karen Kelsky discusses the tenure process, particularly in regards to professors of the humanities.

Academic Blogs

What better way to find out what it’s like to have an academic career than to peruse the insights of academics? By reading any of the following academic blogs, you can do just that.

The Scholarly Kitchen – This blog is focused on the advancement of scholarly publication and features posts written by a wide variety of contributors.

Teaching Professor Blog – This blog is written by Maryellen Weimer, a highly respected professor emerita and published author. Here, she shares her thoughts on effective college teaching.

The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor – Written by a zoology researcher and professor, this blog is both informal and personal.

Hack Education – Education writer Audrey Watters discusses emerging trends in educational technology.

Confessions of a Community College Dean – This tell-all blog is written by Matt Reed, the vice president of learning at Brookdale Community College.