Timing Your Search

The Previous Spring:

Contact letter writers.  Set up dossier with credentials office. Begin drafting cover letter and dissertation abstract.  Join the MLA if you haven’t already. (See Summer Checklist post)


First, if you didn’t ask for letters of recommendation last spring, ask right away when classes begin. Set up your dossier (see post on how to do that). Begin reading the Chronicle of Higher Education for job ads.  Spent major time writing job letter dissertation paragraph and draft some generic teaching paragraphs. Make sure your CV is complete (and attend a CV workshop with us). Choose your writing samples and start polishing them. Budget for MLA. Distribute application materials (drafts of cover letter(s), abstracts, vitae, and statements of teaching philosophy) to advisor and others for feedback. Follow up with writers of letters of recommendation if you did contact them last spring.  You may also wish to start making MLA travel plans by the end of this month.  (You get better deals on hotel and airfare that way.)

Last Friday in September:

This is usually the day when the MLA begins posting job ads on-line. You can access the Job Information List through www.ade.org.  You will need a password that the Department can provide (I’ll send that to you all via e-mail).  These ads continue to be updated weekly.


You will want to keep working on your job materials through the first part of the month.  Check to ensure that the dossier is complete, and contact those who have letters of recommendation outstanding. Most ads have application deadlines of Nov. 1-15.  Some will ask for a dossier up front, and a few will even ask for writing samples.  Continue to check the Chronicle for other ads.  Begin preparing materials to send out.  If possible, begin sending out applications in late October.


Continue to respond to advertisements.  By the second half of the month, you may start receiving requests for writing samples.  Don’t forget to continue checking the Chronicle.  We will be contacting you about scheduling a mock interview. Some schools may have phone interviews.


Requests may continue for writing samples.  Departments usually begin calling and e-mailing to set up MLA interviews around the middle of the month. New ads continue to appear online.


This is usually the earliest time that you may have a campus visit.  Departments that did not conduct MLA interviews may begin scheduling phone or video interviews.


February is often high season for campus visits.  However, departments will be in radically different stages of their searches.  Some will be running their ads, finally. Others will be reviewing applications or setting up first interviews. Some will be holding campus interviews. Others will be making offers.

March- May:

Many departments will be concluding their searches in March.  However, ads will still be appearing.  While many of the job advertisements that appear during these months are for one or two-year replacement positions, there are also tenure-track jobs that are advertised during these months.  Department chairs, particularly local ones, might write to chairs of graduate departments at this time.  A summer supplement to the Job Information List also appears in July.