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Academic Coaching & Writing

I. Branding Your Academic Job Search

Jul 16, 2017 by Dr Sally

The academic job market is tough. You may be feeling overwhelmed or anxious, which is more than reasonable. The number of tenure-track faculty positions at nonprofit educational institutions has been in decline for some time now, and it does not look like the trend will reverse any time soon.

While the realities of the job market may sound bleak, being successful on the job market is possible. We see our clients at ACW succeed because they have crafted a unique academic brand and shaped each of their job documents to reflect a coherent picture of the work they do and why it matters.

This blog series offers concrete steps you can take to make your job application stronger in a tight market by developing your own academic brand. The series guides you toward authentically weaving your brand into your job documents to ensure that your scholarly identity is clear to the members of academic job search committees.

What is an Academic Brand?

An academic brand illuminates the connections between who you are as researcher, professor, administrator, and colleague in service to your field. It provides a consistent interpretation of your past work, your present projects, and a thoughtful trajectory for future work. Clarifying your brand helps you choose the jobs to apply for and the service and teaching commitments that connect to what matters most to you. A clear brand provides a framework for productivity and satisfaction in your career, not only in your job search.

Why Develop an Academic Brand?

Your academic brand is a tool to keep sharpened throughout your career. It is valuable on the job market and at various junctures in your career: third-year reviews, funding applications, tenure and promotion, and other major career transitions. Academic branding articulates your value and the importance of your work, independent of the university from which you graduated or where you currently work. Academic branding asks you to identify in yourself and in your work your strengths and your contributions independent of the institution(s) where you work.

Where We Are Headed

The blogs in this series explain how to develop your own academic brand as it applies to your job search materials. These posts provide a framework for understanding how developing an academic brand will help you articulate who you are so that you stand out in an overcrowded field of applicants:

  • Discovering Your Brand, Your Story, Your Future discusses how to shape or reshape your academic brand for the job search.
  • Branding Your CV for the Academic Job Market reviews what the CV is and what it is not and how to make this document a powerful statement of your qualifications.
  • Branding Your Research Statement for the Academic Job Market explains the components of your research statement and how a thoughtful brand leads your audience to a better understanding of what your research seeks to do and why.
  • Branding Your Teaching Statement for the Academic Job Market guides you to think about how your academic brand shapes who you are as a teacher.
  • Branding Your Cover Letter for the Academic Job Market argues that intentional references to your brand provide the coherence that cover letters often lack.
  • Branding Yourself Online to Stand Out on the Academic Job Market demonstrates how to brand your website and create a branded biography for your site and other popular academic ready-to-use sites such as Academia.edu and Researchgate.com.
  • Promoting Your Academic Brand on Social Media explores how your academic brand can shape your social media engagement on sites such as Twitter and Facebook and, more importantly, how to choose when and if to engage in social media venues as an academic.
  • Educating Your Letter Writers About Your Academic Brand explains how strategically sharing your academic brand with those who are writing your letters of recommendation can shape your recommendations to echo your other job materials.
  • Applying to Jobs That Fit Your Academic Brand guides you in how to use your brand to filter and prioritize job applications.

Our goal in this blog series on academic branding for your job search is to provide guidance and support to enable you to create a compelling set of job application materials that convey the value of the scholarly work that you do.

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