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Academic Job Search: Writing a good CV, research statement, and teaching statement

I won't give you boring details of how you should format your CV, there's enough resources out there that give you much better advise than I ever could, instead I will tell you what you can and should do during graduate school, to generate the content for your CV and statements.

Please keep in mind that I was specifically looking for post doctoral research positions in mathematical biology. If you want to land a teaching or tenure position, some rules might be different.

Job Application Timeline
  • Academic Jobs beginning fall 2011 (June – September)
  • Deadlines for postdocs: as early as November 2010
  • Asked for letters: September 2010
  • CV, Research Statement, Preprint/publications/thesis
  • Draft of Research Statement August/September 2010
  • CV: first version in 2008, career services, periodically updated
  • Jobs are advertised on
  • Discussed everything with my advisor, proof-read by advisor, several friends proof-read my statements, department head, career services
  • Compared CV and statements to those of other mathematicians

Application Process
  • Through
  • Cover letter
    • Name of position and school
    • find department head’s name
    • Possible collaborations/groups, i.e. Mathematical Biology, Symbolic Computation
  • Mention possible collaboration in research statement
  • Mention possible new curriculum/teaching methods/undergraduate research in teaching statement
  • 1-3 hours per application
  • ~30 applications
  • 5-10 applications to specific research positions not in Academia:
    • Research Hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, Microsoft Research, Cancer Systems Biology Group
    • Application directly to senior researcher 

Create Content for your Research Statement
  • Talk to your advisor (and other faculty) about your goals
  • Participate in conferences and workshops
    • Explore local options
      • SIAM seminar
      • Department Math Seminars,  Physics seminar, Graduate student speaker series, Symposium, … (read all announcement emails!)
    • Workshops (NSF math institutes)
    • Poster presentations
  • Leadership role (SIAM, SGTA, student organization, organize a seminar…)
  • Letters of recommendation
    • 2-3 research letters, 1 teaching letter
    • Knows you and your work in detail
    • Well known
    • Your advisor can suggest letter writers!

Create Content for your Teaching Statement

  • “Show, don’t tell”
    • I’m the best teacher in the world.
    • My section scored highest, best rating on evaluations, …
  • What have you accomplished that distinguishes you from other teachers?
    • Teaching large/higher-level course?
    • Anything that’s not standard curriculum (Mathematica)?
    • Review sessions/material for all sections?
    • Tutoring? Volunteering with high school events/girls’ math day/Kids’ Tech University? 
    • Do something special now, so you can write about it, when you apply 
  • Tell GTA supervisor about your career goal, he/she might have “special tasks” for you 
    • Special course to teach 
    • Special leadership roles as senior TA
  • Be a good colleague 
    • Be on time, be prepared 
    • Participate in department events (Visitors’ day, peer mentoring, …) 
    • Be friendly and helpful to your fellow colleagues (share notes, offer to substitute, …) 
    • (especially in a small department) you are hired as a team member, not a 9-5 teacher 

My Advice
  • Have a goal, know what’s necessary to accomplish it, work towards that goal
  • Take any help you can get, don’t be afraid to ask
  • Good Luck!

I hope this article makes you start thinking about your CV before you actually have to write one! 


  1. Hi Friends,

    Here you provide the best way for search an academic job. Academic tenure is a guarantee of lifetime employment in an academic job, barring unforeseen and usually dramatic circumstances. Thanks a lot.

  2. The medical school personal statement is just one part of your entire medical school application. Your GPA, MCAT, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation and interview make up the rest. teaching statement math

  3. Writing your personal statement... The personal statement is your opportunity to sell yourself in the application process, and it generally falls into one of two categories - A comprehensive personal statement - This allows you maximum freedom in terms of what you write and is the type of statement often prepared for application forms. research statement chemistry


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