Student Job Seekers
These pages are dedicated for current doctoral students in the UIC graduate studies program in English, explaining what to expect from the job market for research/teaching positions at 4-year colleges and universities.
Building a dossier
For more information regarding this topic, please download the following document.
In most job advertisements, the term "dossier" refers simply to confidential letters of recommendation written by your professors (when you are just graduating) and eventually by other colleagues in your field (people who know your work and/or have observed your teaching). Graduate students applying for their first academic jobs should have letters from their dissertation/thesis director or primary advisor, members of their committee who have worked closely with them, and at least one letter focused on teaching by someone other than the dissertation/thesis director or primary advisor.
Managing Your Dossier
Alumni returning to the job market after having held at least one academic position will want to have as few letters as possible from their original graduate school professors and advisors. Letters should come from colleagues in the field (including those at their current institution), if possible from those who are widely recognized. Anyone returning to the market should try to request updated letters wherever possible, even if it's just to get the recommender to change the year's date. In general, letters in the dossier should certainly never be more than a year old.
It's a good idea to give your recommenders plenty of notice when asking for a new letter or an update of an existing letter.
The UIC Department of English uses an online service called Interfolio, allowing you to store materials including but not limited to transcripts, writing samples, resumes/CVs, and teaching evaluations.
Sample Job Materials
The only job material an account holder cannot upload or view on his or her own is a confidential letter of recommendation. Signed official hard copies of letters of recommendation should be submitted to the Office of Graduate studies, c/o the Graduate Studies Program Coordinator. Once approved by the Director of Graduate Studies, a letter is uploaded within two business days.
To set up an account to manage your dossier, you should contact the Graduate Studies Program Coordinator to receive instructions and a special code. The promotional discount is valid for five years from the time of sign-up.
Attached is a useful guide to Using Interfolio.
If you are a current UIC student and would like access to our Box file of sample job materials, email the Graduate Studies Program Coordinator.
Where to apply for jobs
There are a number of places to look for academic jobs. Visiting or tenure-track teaching/research positions at 4-year colleges and universities will usually emphasize research and publication in addition to teaching (teaching loads will often be 2-2, 3-2, or 3-3).
Key Job Lists
Teaching and administrative positions (tenure and non-tenure-track) at junior, community and some 4-year colleges will often emphasize teaching or administrative duties over research (administrative jobs may be 9-5, teaching jobs may involve higher course loads -- 4-3, 4-4 or more).
Postdoctoral fellowships are usually 1- or 2-year positions that involve a comparatively low teaching load and encourage the pursuit of research and publication. Applicants for these positions tend to be in the first year or two out of graduate school.
Use the links below according to the type of position you are seeking:
January 3-6, 2019, Chicago, IL
March 27-30, 2019, Portland, OR
(Conference on College Composition and Communication, aka Four C's)
March 13-16, 2019, Pittsburgh, PA