Telephone Interviewing — The Perils of Pajamas

May 5, 2010

A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education cites an increase in the number of departments conducting first round interviews remotely — typically by phone but perhaps increasingly through other technology.  The cost benefits for hiring committees are clear. Conducting telephone interviews is a much cheaper way to screen an applicant pool.  As the first step in the interview process, the phone interview becomes critical.  But it also brings some unique challenges compared with in-person interviews.  What are some of those challenges, and how can you maximize your chances for success?

Telephone Logistics

A successful phone interview starts with ensuring that there are no logistical problems from your end.  Consider ahead of time the best number for you to use.  If it’s a cell phone, you’ll want to be sure you are in a place that has good coverage.  It probably goes without saying that your phone should be charged (but then again, when it comes to interviewing nothing should be left unsaid).  Regardless of what phone you use, try to eliminate the potential for any distractions, for example, call waiting clicking in.  And perhaps most importantly, be sure you are in a location where you know you will not be disturbed — by colleagues if you are at school, by family or other distractions if you are at home.

Non-Verbals: Maintaining (Eye) Contact

Communications experts tell us that much of what is communicated happens through our non-verbals; yet with a phone interview it is seemingly all about the verbals.  How can you ensure that you are sending an overall positive message during your phone interview without the benefit of positive non-verbals?  You may not have eye contact to rely on, but these ideas can help:

  • Dress for success.  Sure you could wear your footed pajamas and no one would know.  But it’s important for you to establish the right tone for this interview, just as you would in person.  Dressing down in the comforts of your own home may establish a tone that is informal, casual, perhaps too relaxed.  Some experts suggest dressing up just as you would for any other interview, to help get you in the right frame of mind.
  • The same applies for other traditional non-verbal tips.  Sit up straight, perhaps with a slight lean forward as you may in an in-person setting.  All of these ideas will help you convey the right tone.  If done right, this tone will come through even over the phone lines.
  • Master the names.  Phone interviews typically include several people from a search committee, who will introduce themselves at the start of a conversation.  Putting names to voices and using the names appropriately can be a way to establish personal connections, even if you are not able to look the person in the eye.
  • Avoid getting lost in paper.  Yes, with a phone interview you have the ability to have notes in front of you, and to take notes as the conversation unfolds.  And yes, you run the risk of getting lost in paper and losing sight of the conversation.  Focusing on the department’s course guide, or the 17 page vita of a search committee member, means you are not focusing on questions and answers.  My advice is to MINIMIZE these distractions.  You can always take notes immediately after the conversation.

Managing the Conversation

In any interview you want to feel as though the search committee is really with you, that you are having a conversation in which everyone is engaged.  It’s easier to judge whether this is happening face-to-face.  You can read the body language and facial expressions of the committee to tell how they are responding.  And if the body language seems negative you can react accordingly.  These visual cues don’t exist over the phone.  The risk is higher that you could lose the group if you are not careful.  Trust me, I’ve seen searches where committee members are rolling their eyes at a particularly difficult answer; or chairs roll back and people slump down in their seats; or worst of all, interviewers become distracted by other work on their desks!  Some simple strategies can help you manage phone conversations correctly:

  • Consider keeping your answers briefer than usual.  The greatest risk is that interviewers check out from the conversation, and you don’t even know it.  In a phone interview it is so much easier for attention to wander.  And if that happens, it is so hard to get it back.  Keeping your answers shorter and more concise allows the committee to follow up if they would like more information.  It also allows you to…
  • Check in with the group on occasion.  More concise answers allow you to (occasionally) ask the group if you’ve answered the question sufficiently, or if they would like to hear more.  If you’re unsure about a question, it’s probably better (occasionally) to ask for clarification rather than answering something different than what they were hoping to hear.
  • Don’t be afraid of small silences as you formulate your answers.  This is true in any interview, where even a brief pause may seem like an interminable amount of time passing.  This may feel even more awkward over the phone, without the physical connection.  But better to pause briefly, for a second or two, to compose a coherent answer rather than feeling the need to immediately launch into an answer as soon as the question is finished.  Again, your goal is to be sure you’re on point with your answers rather than rambling and losing your audience.  If a brief pause can help you do that effectively, then it’s worth it.  If pauses make you too uncomfortable, you can also insert some of those generic time fillers – “hmmm, that’s a good question….”  or “hmmm, let me think about that for a second….” — while you think of your answer.

So stow the loungewear, and make sure the cat won’t jump up on the table.  Prepare as you would for any interview, paying special attention to the challenges the phone presents.

As always, I would love to hear your stories of surviving the telephone interview.

Photo Credit: david.nikonvscanon on Flickr

Plan B — Knowing Your Options

April 5, 2010

Your academic job search may not have worked out exactly as you had hoped.  If you have not accepted a job offer, you may be considering what to do next.  Your decisions may depend on a number of factors, for example an assessment of the job market and your credentials, or the job search decisions of a partner.  The appropriate next steps for you will also depend in part on knowing your limits and boundaries as a job seeker.  In very general terms your decision may come down to going on the market again next year, or considering your career options.  There are several important issues to consider as you weigh your choices.

Going on the Market Next Year

In many disciplines going on the market a second (or even third or fourth) year is not uncommon, so this could very well be a good option for you.  In fact, you may be an even stronger candidate (and certainly a more experienced job seeker) if you go through the process a second time.  But as with any good decision, the decision to go on the market again should be a reasoned and informed choice.  Seeking a temporary position may give you the flexibility to pursue an academic job next year, but that year shouldn’t simply be a “holding pattern.”  Consider what you will be doing in the next year, and how that will impact your candidacy.  What are your areas of weakness, and how can a temporary position help you increase your marketability?  Is a year of teaching a possibility, and will that enhance your candidacy?  Are post-docs available in your field, and what value may they add?  Staying engaged as a scholar, especially in ways that will solidify your credentials, becomes of primary importance as you consider whether another year on the job market may yield positive results.

Keep in mind that temporary roles — a lecturer position or a post-doc research role — can be useful as you transition to a permanent position.  But it can also be easy to find yourself stuck in a series of temporary positions if you are not able to find more permanent work.  At some point, continuing on in temporary roles may yield diminishing returns for your career development.  This is simply something to consider as you weigh your options.

Re-considering Career Options

The decision to pursue (and even explore) options beyond the tenure track brings its own set of issues.  There can certainly be some positive job search aspects to this decision.  Pursuing a different career path may open up more job possibilities than are available in your academic discipline; exploring non-academic jobs may ease the relocation to a specific part of the country.  However, most any career transition comes with challenges that should be considered clearly as you weigh your options.

Finding a job outside the tenure-track may require some re-tooling on your part.  If most of your experiences have been inside the academy, at the very least you will need to re-think how your skills translate to nonacademic careers.  You may even need to identify ways to build up other skill sets that haven’t been a part of your academic training.

Taking this Plan B may also require you to build experiences on the way to your ultimate goal.  Internships, part-time or volunteer work, or perhaps freelancing can be ways to develop your credentials, demonstrate commitment to the work, and build contacts that can be such an important part of job searching.  You have spent years as a graduate student building toward an academic career.  While a transition to a non-tenure track career may not take years, it does require some forethought to put the appropriate building blocks in place.

Finally, you may also need to come to terms with what it means to you to explore options other than the tenure track.  If you’ve always considered yourself an academic, how will it feel to be perceived (by self or others) as giving that up?  How will you build a career identity different from that of an academic?

If your academic job search is winding down without a solid offer, what is your Plan B?  I hope you’ll share your thoughts and experiences with others in the comments below.

Photo credit: Leo Reynolds on Flickr.

Dual Career Couples — The Two-Body Problem

March 5, 2010

In the field of mechanics, the two-body problem is defined as “the problem of predicting the motions of two objects…exerting forces on each other….”  (  In the realm of academic job searching, that definition may also hold.  Jobsearching on one’s own is hard enough; the challenge of two people conducting simultaneous job searches becomes even harder.  It is likely to result in force, or pressure.  While this process may not be reduced to a mechanical problem to solve, there are some ways to think about this situation that may increase the likelihood of achieving your goals.

Be Open to Possibilities

While it’s helpful to have ideal career goals in mind, this may be an important time to consider your range of possibilities.  What are reasonable career options for you individually and as a couple?  If you are committed to an academic career, how broadly do you think of that option?  Could an academic job include a variety of types of four-year institutions?  What about community colleges? Is this the time for one or both of you to consider career options outside the academy, partly as a way to facilitate a dual-career move?  Of course only you can determine what possibilities are acceptable, but this is an important issue to consider both individually and as a couple.

Know Your Bottom Line

One reason this process can’t be reduced to a simple mechanical problem is that every situation is different.  This uniqueness is most important when it comes to your bottom line — what is most important to you in this situation; what is absolutely essential as you make your decisions and implement your job search?  For a dual career couple, you may need to answer this question as individuals and as a couple.  For some a bottom line may be related to the nature of the relationship, for example, that you not live in different areas of the country (whereas others may be open to a commuting relationship).  For others, your bottom line may relate to the kinds of positions you would be willing to consider.  A bottom line may be challenging to identify, especially as you begin to reconcile the needs of your partner.  But having a clear sense of your bottom line, individually and together, can help ensure that the decisions you make are in line with what you claim as most important to you.

Considering If and When to Tell Potential Employers

The most common question I get related to a dual-career job search is: should I tell potential employers that my partner is job searching, and if so, when is the best time?  Of course, the easy answer is: it depends!  Understand that there are pros and cons to sharing this information with search committees.  On one hand, having a partner who is job searching may be seen as a potential barrier — and barriers are never helpful in the job search.  This may argue for not mentioning a partner job search until late in the process, if at all.  On the other hand, search committees may be interested in knowing all of your issues and needs especially if you are a candidate of strong interest to them.  Knowing the job search needs of a partner may allow the committee to offer resources to help both of you in your search.  This is one part of the process where being clear about your bottom line becomes vital.  Knowing what you’re willing to accept, or perhaps more importantly knowing what is not negotiable, can be an important guide to what you are willing to share with a search committee.

This is a challenging topic to blog about because the issues are complex and each situation plays out differently given its unique aspects.  I know that I have just scratched the surface on the issues related to dual career job searching.  I would love to hear from you on this topic.  What are the challenges you have faced?  And what has been important to you as you have addressed these issues?  I hope you’ll share your comments below.

Photo credit: Todd Barnard on Flickr

Getting Started Early — Using the Gift of Time

February 11, 2010

Sometimes when I talk with graduate students who are in the midst of their academic job search, they talk about things they wish they had done to make themselves stronger candidates.  And often these things are simply no longer possible from a time standpoint.  If you are not beginning your active search until next fall, or perhaps even later, you may be able to take some lessons learned from your colleagues.  Below are some best practices to share:

Keep a Running, Master C.V.

The CV you ultimately use for your job search may not include everything you’ve ever done in your professional life.  However, I do think it is important to have a master document that is a comprehensive, detailed record of all that you have done and accomplished.  Sounds simple, right?  But in reality it is easy for all of us to forget things over time.  Keeping track of your experiences in the moment can help ensure that you do have a complete picture of your professional accomplishments.  This master document can then be mined as you develop your job search CV, but also as you develop materials for things like award applications, tenure review and other needs for your CV.

Understanding the Employer’s Perspective

One of the best ways to get an idea of what the job search is like from the hiring committee’s perspective is to participate in any hiring that your department is conducting.  You can learn a lot by watching others conduct their searches, and by seeing how a search committee reacts.  At the very least, attend job talks that candidates give.  You may even ask if you can review job search materials from applicants.  Understanding the employer perspective is always valuable, and departmental searches give you that opportunity.

Learn the Job Search Basics of Your Field

An academic job search is still a fairly straightforward process.  Learning as much as you can about the basic logistics of the job search in your field can help ensure that you get started on the right foot.  Find out now when and where jobs are posted.  Learn about conferences in your discipline, the roles that they play, and how you can use them most effectively.  Learning this type of information becomes even more important if your work — and your job search — is cross-disciplinary in nature.

Understand and Impact Your Weaknesses

Every job seeker will bring a package of strengths and weaknesses to the process.  Unfortunately by the time you are actively job seeking it may be too late to significantly address areas of weakness.  However, if you have some time before going on the market you may be better positioned to improve them.  Of course, improving areas of weakness first implies that you’ve done some honest thinking about areas in which you may be at a comparable disadvantage with your job-seeking peers.  For example, maybe you have little or no teaching experience, or your publications record does not seem to measure up with others at a similar point of the process.  What are creative solutions to help you address these areas?  Given a lack of teaching, perhaps you could get into the classroom even to teach one lesson of a class.  If actual teaching experience is less common in your area, you can at least sign up for pedagogical training sessions through CRLT to help you build skills and demonstrate your commitment to teaching.  Perhaps your department could even connect you with other institutions in the area that may be looking for teaching help.

Many parts of the job search process are out of your control, especially when you’re in the thick of it.  However, proper preparation can help you engage your search as proactively as possible.  In these and other ways, some time spent up front now can have large payoffs during your job search.

Photo credit: ToniVC on Flickr

Letters of Recommendation

January 12, 2010

Letters of recommendation are of primary importance in the academic job search.  And yet they are often a source of great mystery to students.  How do I identify my writers?  How do I approach them, and what do I say?  I hope that some relatively basic ideas can help you navigate this process effectively.

Don’t Assume Anything

You may be assuming that someone with whom you’ve worked very closely will of course be able to write you a strong letter.  Or you may be in a situation of assuming that a committee member with whom you’ve had differences will not be able to write an excellent letter.  Neither assumption may be correct.  So the most basic advice when it comes to securing letters is to ask: “Do you think you will be able to write me a strong letter of recommendation?”  And not just a letter, but a strong letter.  Letter inflation may be as rampant as grade inflation, so a half-hearted letter may be a weak point for you.  The important point here is that faculty will hopefully tell you if they can’t fully support you, but it becomes easier for them to do that if you ask first.  Or they may need your help in writing a strong letter, which leads to the second point…

Educate Your Writers

You know best what you hope your writers will say.  And while you won’t write their letter for them, you can give them ideas of how they may want to approach the letter.  What do you see as your relative strengths?  Are there particular aspects of your background that you think they are most qualified to address?  How might their letter fit in with other letters you are receiving?  These are all good questions to think about, and to discuss with your writers.  So here again, making the process transparent and involving the writers in your thought process can help them write letters that will be most effective for you.  Educating your writers also includes asking them what they need to be effective: a copy of your CV, other documents such as statements of teaching philosophy or research interests, and copies of job descriptions may be useful background information.

Remember the Academic Network

Your letter writers are part of the formal evaluation process; but remember that reference letters are not the only way people may communicate about you.  Academic networks tend to be pervasive and strong, and people will tap this network to learn about job candidates.  A search committee member may reach out to a faculty member in your department for an off-the-record conversation about you.  While you can’t control if and when these connections happen, you can manage your relationships with people in your department to help ensure the best result.  Keeping everyone in your network informed of your situation — your academic and job search progress and goals — is good basic practice as you negotiate your job search.

For more information navigating the recommendation process, visit The Career Center’s Reference Letter Service.

What have been your challenges and successes as you navigate the recommendation process?  I am sure that other students would be interested in hearing what works; and what doesn’t!

Photo credit: Katmere on Flickr

The Teaching Statement — What Works?

December 1, 2009

“Give pupils something to do, not something to learn, and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results” — John Dewey

A pithy quote, attention-grabbing and inspirational.   A great way to start a statement of teaching philosophy, right?  Well, it definitely is if you’re John Dewey applying for an assistant professor job.  If not, then it may or may not be the best way to start.  So what makes a good statement of teaching philosophy, and what should you stay away from?

I prefer a different quote when thinking about a good teaching statement: the best predictor of future success is past performance.  A good statement is grounded in your experiences, preferably what you have done in the classroom.  Highlighting what you have actually done in the classroom to achieve your teaching goals (even if it didn’t always work perfectly) moves your statement from theory to reality.  It allows a search committee to more clearly envision you in their classrooms because you have demonstrated past success.  A solid teaching document should have plenty of “for example” statements and few if any “I would” or “I believe” statements.  Search committees don’t want to know what you would do in a given situation; they want to see what you have done  An effective statement demonstrates that you have reflected on what makes you a good teacher, and that you can communicate that to others.

Many of you probably have teaching experience you can draw upon, but what if you just don’t?  While past experience is always best, not having significant experience doesn’t have to doom your application.  It’s never too late to get even a little experience; perhaps your department would allow you to teach even one section of a class.  Or perhaps you could talk about the experiences you’ve had in a lab setting that you think demonstrate important aspects of teaching: mentoring, explaining difficult concepts to others, etc.  Even sharing your concrete experiences as a classroom learner could be helpful.

Looking at job postings in the Chronicle of Higher Education recently, I do see that a statement of teaching philosophy is often required.  And I wonder if the word philosophy itself is a misnomer that might lead some students down the wrong path.  Another job called for a statement of teaching effectiveness, and I liked that phrase much better.  A focus on demonstrated effectiveness, based on evidence gleaned from concrete experiences, seems like a good approach to me.

So do you want to have a well-written statement, one that grabs the reader’s attention and is something that brings your teaching to life?  Absolutely.  You may just not need John Dewey’s help in doing that.

What are your experiences writing a teaching statement?  Share your comments below.

Photo credit: Cliff 1066 on Flickr

Interviewing – Passing the Airport Test, and More

November 16, 2009

What makes for a successful interview?  How do search committees determine airportwho gets an offer?  Of course a lot goes into that equation.  Something that often comes up is the notion of fit.  “We’re looking for the candidate who is the best fit for us,” a search committee says.  Fit may seem like a subjective concept.  So what is “fit,” and how does a job candidate demonstrate it?

To understand fit, it is important to remember where interviewing falls in the job search process.  A search committee has already reviewed a large number of applications.  You have been selected to interview based on things like your CV and cover letter, and perhaps letters of recommendation.  You are usually part of a much smaller pool of interviewees.  At this point of the process there is tacit understanding that anyone being interviewed has the qualifications to do the job, at least on paper.  Interviewing is the in-person test to see who is best — who fits best, given our needs.

Fit becomes even more important with tenure-track jobs, where the assumption is that this might be a lifetime appointment.  Given those stakes, making the right hiring decision becomes even more important.  So just what does fit look like in the context of academic interviewing?

Candidate Qualifications

Certainly one way a search committee assesses fit is continuing to evaluate your academic background and your potential contributions as a scholar.  The interview is your opportunity to place your work as a researcher and teacher in the context of the specific department and institution.  How will your research tap and benefit from the resources available at the institution?  How might your teaching interests mesh with the department, both filling existing needs and perhaps extending course offerings into new areas?  Fit in this case measures your ability to allow the search committee to envision your work in their current environment, to assess you as a professional colleague.

The Airport Test

But fit also involves a more elusive concept.  One employer highlighted the importance of fit this way: If we bring on a new employee, I want to be sure this is someone that I’m comfortable being with.  I want to be sure that if I’m stuck with this person in a 4-hour layover in an airport, I might actually enjoy being with them rather than going crazy being stuck with them.  For this person, fit measures your ability to get along with others.

In an academic interview the “airport test” may come when you are faced with especially tough questions or ornery questioners during your job talk.  How do you handle those situations, and what does that say about you — do you overreact, or are you calm and composed?  During a lunch as part of the interview process, are people enjoying the informal conversation or are they rushing to be done with you?  When faced with the seemingly inevitable administrative snafus of a campus visit, do you handle them gracefully or wear your frustrations on your sleeve?  These situations and more will all be clues to those who interact with you, and will all be a part of the evaluation process.

Fit is a Two-Way Street

Finally, remember that fit does work both ways.  The search committee is evaluating you, but just as importantly, you should be evaluating fit from your position.  Perhaps you do have the qualifications to do the job, but is that enough?  Does the department offer the environment that meets your needs?  Does the institution provide resources to help you reach your goals?  And do you even want to live in the geographic area?  Hopefully you enter the interview process with a clear idea of your needs, to then assess if the particular opportunity fills them.

One More Perspective

I recently heard a faculty member talking about the campus visit.  She talked about the buzz that invariably happens as soon as a job candidate leaves for the final time.  Faculty gather in groups in the hallways sharing their thoughts about the candidate.  I am sure that the buzz is partly about the candidate’s scholarly record and their potential contributions to the department.  But I am equally confident that the buzz is also about those other harder-to-define qualities of fit.

I encourage you to join the discussion.  What are your concerns about demonstrating fit during the interview?  What have you seen or heard that has worked well for candidate?  Leave your comments below.

Photo credit: Joi on Flickr

Highlighting Teaching on Your C.V.

November 2, 2009

We seek candidates with a commitment to undergraduate education, experience chalkboard_houseofsimsteaching students of diverse backgrounds, and a sensitivity to the educational goals of a multicultural population.”
“Commitment to teaching excellence.”
“Having experience with diverse populations or teaching pedagogies.”

Commitment to teaching will be a part of most any job description, as witness these actual job ads — although the amount of commitment will vary by type of institution. So how can you demonstrate a commitment to teaching excellence? Consider these ideas:

Teaching Experience

This one is obvious, but how you include your experiences will impact the perception of your commitment. Where do you place this section and how much space do you allocate to it? What do you choose to emphasize in your descriptions (and do you even have descriptions)? Use this space to make intentional points that demonstrate a commitment to teaching.  This could also be the place to highlight particular experiences that set you apart, for example, designing and teaching your own class.

Student Contact

Consider the various ways you have interacted with students, in graduate school and perhaps even before. Have you mentored students in a lab or other setting? What about tutoring? Highlighting student contact may also help you highlight the diverse types of students you have worked with, majors and non-majors, undergrads and graduate students, etc.  Actual teaching experience is helpful, but all contact with students can help you build your case.

Pedagogical Training

Have you taken specific steps to improve your teaching? Perhaps you’ve attended workshops at CRLT, or even their Preparing Future Faculty seminar. Or maybe you’ve participated in pedagogical trainings in your department. Consider whether and where you want to include these kinds of experiences as a supplement to your teaching experience.  Because while teaching may be a requirement of your graduate experience, pedagogical training can be something that demonstrates commitment beyond what is required.

Your CV will say certain things about your commitment to teaching (or lack thereof). Be sure your document speaks the most important things about you!

What does your document say?

Photo credit: House of Sims on Flickr

Three for Thursday — Cover Letters

October 22, 2009

Today’s “Three for Thursday” focuses on cover letters. A UM faculty member with experience on search committees3 shares these quick tips on the do’s and don’ts of good cover letters:

  1. At the beginning of the letter, do state which position you are applying for (refer to job posting if applicable or explain how you learned about the opening). At the end of the letter, do list all documents included in your packet; if something is sent separately (e.g. reference letters), say so.
  2. Do mention and explain if the position is a particularly good fit for you (with respect to job type, location, etc.) especially if the job is not the obvious top choice for the typical candidate from your institution.
  3. Do not make up reasons for why you are interested in the position; tell the truth. Do not duplicate information from your CV.

What are your cover letter do’s and don’ts, or your questions as you write your letters?  Share your comments below.
Photo credit: CarbonNYC on flickr.

Everything but the Kitchen Sink? Deciding What to Include in Your CV

October 7, 2009

You’ve seen your advisor’s CV — seemingly a dissertation in and of itself. But as a newly minted (or soon-to-be) Ph.D.,kitchen sink what should you include in yours? Or maybe more importantly, what should you leave off? While there are no hard and fast rules to this question, there are guidelines to help you think about what may work best for you.

What are your strongest suits; and what is valued by your discipline?
By the end of the first couple of pages, a reader should have a clear idea of your strengths. These things should come early in your document, and have a relatively larger amount of space devoted to them. This will vary by individual and could include education, research, teaching, awards, or other areas. Your vita is one place where you should not save the best for last.

More than one version may be helpful.
One reason you may be trying the kitchen sink approach is to make sure that you have something in your vita for every type of job and institution. Better to cover all your bases than to potentially leave something out, right? But in reality, including everything may be obscuring what is most important. Is a search committee at Middlebury interested in all the same things as one at Michigan? Hopefully your research can help you understand the needs of your target employers, which will help you develop an effective CV.

When vintage may not be vogue.
Old is sometimes in when it comes to music or even clothes. But a good general rule of thumb is that more recent is better when making your case on your vita. A document that highlights too much from too long ago — experiences, awards, publications, etc. — may send negative messages about your recent accomplishments (or lack thereof). Having said that, even this is not an easy line to draw. An award from a while ago may be truly outstanding and unique, and could add value. A somewhat dated publication may demonstrate a particular aspect of your work that is not addressed anywhere else. As with everything on your document these should all be intentional decisions, including how far back to go.

Ultimately your CV should tell a story: the story of why you are a good fit for the kinds of academic jobs to which you are applying. Your story may be that you are a strong interdisciplinary researcher with a track record of attracting funding for your work. Or maybe that you integrate teaching and research in a number of specific subspecialties in your discipline. Once you can identify your story, you’ll then be able to assess what parts of your background best tell that story — and that will be your kitchen sink!

Photo credit: Roland Tanglao on Flickr


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