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Find an Academic Job Internationally

5 Tips to Finding an Academic Job Internationally

Finding an academic job internationally sometimes feels like an alien experience. From the lingo through to the grants system, few elements of the process will feel familiar. However, if you’re trying to find academic jobs online and secure a career abroad, there are some ways to gain an advantage over your competitors.

Understand how research funding works in your target country

Whether you’re still in the process of refining your research proposal or you know what you want to explore, it’s worth understanding how the funding system works in your target country. For example, in the UK and other European countries, you may find a large grant. Such grants depend on the research area’s need. However, whether you work in arts, humanities, or science, if your proposal fills a knowledge gap you’re quite likely to find a grant.

In contrast, in the U.S., such grants usually arise in areas such as science. Negotiating the world of arts and humanities becomes a little more challenging, primarily due to the lack of public funding behind higher education. As such, if you want to secure such funds, prepare to justify the necessity of your topic.

Gain a background knowledge of how academia works in each country

While there was once a time when permanent tenure contracts were plentiful in the UK, today the job market is more impermanent. Many academics take on indefinite contracts, which means there’s a lack of job security. As such, being able to demonstrate whether you’ll feel comfortable with this and how you’ll manage periods where your tenure is unstable is essential.

Similarly, the German system is moving more towards an unstable market, unless you work as a professor. Naturally, this means you’ll have to seek a student visa that lasts for the fixed period of your contract in such countries. When applying for positions, it’s better to find proof that you can secure such visas prior to moving forward. Otherwise, the institution you approach will likely give preference to the person who can demonstrate their ability to get one.

Try to get to grips with the lingo

Whether you’re writing your CV, producing a cover letter, or attending an interview, not understanding the lingo can make finding academic jobs a challenge. It’s worth reminding at this stage that failing to understand the lingo extends to more than just making a faux pas. Without the right knowledge, you could submit documents incorrectly or make a major bureaucratic mistake.

For example, universities in the UK may produce a ‘person specification.’ As the name suggests, this document lists attributes and skills you’ll need to find success. It’s advisable to write a covering letter that alludes to the specifications. In contrast, U.S. institutions could produce a similar document under a different name, but the assessment team won’t turn their noses up at a more general cover letter.

Mastering the lingo doesn’t just make life simpler for you. It gives your prospective employer the confidence that you can negotiate your way through their country’s academic system.

Find a city and an academic institution you feel passionate about

With that in mind, it’s difficult to push yourself to master the lingo, fight for a grant, and operate in an alien higher education environment when you don’t have the right amount of passion. Although the temptation to opt for any available university is there, resist doing so unless you know you can complete your research in such an environment.

While not every city or academic institution will tick all of your boxes, if it’s far from conducive to the way you want to live, keep searching until you find somewhere that is. Not only is your lack of passion likely to arise in your application, it’ll become very evident at the interview stage. Further down the line, you may find that it affects your ability to work.

Use your networking resources carefully

Finally, as an academic, networking is a natural part of your repertoire. Depending on which stage of your career you’re at, you may want to consider networking more. For example, you can try:

  • Attending relevant conferences
  • Asking those more senior than you if you can attend seminars with them
  • Creating a business card to give to others at events
  • Networking electronically, using sites such as LinkedIn

Broadening your network is important for several reasons. As far as trying to find academic jobs online goes, it means you have the chance to reach out to your connections for advice and referrals. Similarly, when you try to find academic jobs, you may hear about opportunities before they reach the advertising stage.

Not everyone finds networking easy, and that’s okay. It’s a good idea to accept that not everyone will want to network with you, but by making an effort you give yourself an advantage over those who don’t try. Remember, the connections you make in your home country could have connections abroad too.

5 Tips to Earn Academic Tenure

5 Tips to Earn Academic Tenure

Almost every new academic shares the same goal, but not everyone knows how to accomplish it. Tenure does more than ensure job security. It implies peer acceptance, professional accomplishment, and permanence of position in academia. In the United States, losing out on tenure actually gets equated with death in the phrase “publish or perish.”

The Australian system of tenure differs from some countries. US universities usually have a strict tenure track model through which academics earn permanent status as full professors. Germany plans to adopt the tenure track model in all of its state universities by 2032. Australia, however, followed the lead of the United Kingdom which abolished tenure over two decades ago. Tenure still exists in Australia and academics still struggle to obtain it. The main difference lies in the fact that theoretically, any working academic can earn a permanent position or “tenure.” The American counterpart can only earn it if hired to a job that specifically leads to tenure.

That being said, Americans, Germans, and others will recognise some of the same hoops jumped through by tenure seeking Australians.

Understand the System

Australian academics get categorised into levels from A to E and also receive conferred titles. Universities and other public institutions that hire academics grant a range of titles, but the level is the only real indicator of rank and seniority. The main key to finding an academic job and rising to a tenured rank lies in understanding what employers value, some of which may come as a surprise.

Look Outside of Academia As Well

Aspiring academics do not have to only look for meaningful positions in universities. Government agencies, public policy institutes, museums, and other organisations employ large numbers of researchers and others from the academic world. Universities remain the career goal of most seeking academic jobs, but they can obtain permanent and fulfilling employment outside of the traditional university system. This may even include academic jobs online.

Growing Prevalence of Grants

Universities have grown into institutions that increasingly compete in a marketplace like any other business. Like a corporation, success means finding and expanding revenue streams. Where a business expands revenue streams by reaching new customers and markets, a university often seeks out grants from the government or elsewhere.

Grants ideally help university researchers advance projects that create some kind of benefit. In other words, the money serves as a means to an end. As universities, however, rely more and more on steady streams of grant money, the grant becomes the end, the research benefit a byproduct, and the academic finds him or herself relegated to merely a means to the end.

Grant writers have a tremendous competitive advantage over others seeking academic jobs in the new university marketplace.

“Publish Or Perish” Still Prevails In the University

Australian universities expect more out of academics at a younger age or level of experience than ever before. A few years ago, an Australian academic related a story of a middling university that denied a doctoral student a scholarship. Why? She had not yet published in an accepted peer-review publication. She did not choose that Australian school, but picked another that believed she demonstrated potential, Harvard.

Publishing means having solid work placed in a peer-reviewed publication accepted by fellow academics as having reached a high enough level of prestige. Commonly, academic employers expect an A. B. D. to have three peer-reviewed pieces already on their record.

Academia, especially in the humanities, has grown into a buyers’ market. With a continuously growing glut of aspiring professors and researchers, universities can afford such pickiness.

Choose Research Over Teaching

Statistics bear out this uncomfortable truth at most universities and not just in Australia. Administrations do not value instruction relative to research. Students will come to a university regardless of who stands in the front of a classroom while researchers bring grant money and generate patents.

Casuals today make up 70 percent of all staff at Australian universities and 80 percent of those teaching. In many cases, universities had not even bothered to fill casual teaching positions only a few weeks prior to the start of the semester. While most think that teaching and education serve as the core of a university, clearly it does not take priority.

In such an environment, a track record of research gives the aspiring academic a much better shot at tenure than teaching excellence.

Even in today’s competitive market, aspiring professionals can still find academic jobs. Knowing the system, knowing institutional priorities, knowing what to expect, and knowing how to fit into that process all represent keys to finding academic jobs. Don’t get discouraged by the process. Do the research and ask good questions. Also, reach out to experts who can help aspiring professionals realise their dream of earning a permanent academic job.