Interested in staying up to date on the latest news for UCSB graduate students? Subscribe to the UCSB GradPost.

University of California Santa Barbara
Campaign for the University of California Santa Barbara

Translate the GradPost:

Graduate Peers' Schedules

Fall 2014
Peer Advisor Availability

Professional Development Peer:
Shawn Warner-Garcia
Tue: 10 a.m. to noon, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Thu: 10 a.m. to noon, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Diversity & Outreach Peer:

Funding Peer:
Kyle Crocco
Wed: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Thu: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Writing Peer:
Ryan Dippre
Mon: 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Tue: 9 a.m. to noon, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Wed: 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Communications Peer:
Melissa Rapp
Wed: 9:45 to 11:45 a.m.
Thu: 1 to 5 p.m.

The peers sometimes hold events or attend meetings during their regular office hours. To assure you connect with your Graduate Peer Advisor, we encourage you to contact them by email and make an appointment.



Campus Map


View UCSB Graduate Student Resources in a larger map


Finding and Applying to Faculty Positions

Finding a faculty position is a long process that often starts with the job search in late August and ends with negotiating a job offer in March or April. The process of finding and applying to jobs seems to be the most tedious part. I am currently going through that process right now and hope to share some tips and resources with you.

Job Search

HigherEdJobs logoStart by setting up job alerts on the popular job search sites, such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, Academic Keys, Higher Education Recruitment Consortium, and HigherEdJobs. Setting up a job alert typically requires setting up a profile on the site. After you set up your profile, look for "career tools" or "alerts" and set up a job alert with specific keywords related to your discipline. The great thing about job alerts is that when a new job that meets your specifications is posted, you will receive an email, which saves you time from having to visit multiple websites on a daily basis.

Another great job search resource is the Academic Jobs Wiki. This is a user-generated site with updated information about the job search process in various disciplines.

It is also important to let your advisor know that you are on the job market. Faculty advisors often receive job postings from the many professional organizations and list-servs they have joined. Ask your advisor to forward relevant job postings to you (this is how I found out about three great job positions!).

Don't forget to contact your networks and let them know you are searching for a job. Post about your job search on your social media pages and ask friends to forward job postings to you.

Also, take a look at professional organization websites. Many of these websites have Career pages where you can find additional job postings related to your discipline.


Each position that you apply to will ask for multiple documents (e.g., CV, cover letter, transcripts, writing samples, letters of recommendation). Therefore, you will need an organizational strategy to keep track of everything.

I use a Google Spreadsheet to keep track of all of the job search websites, all of the positions that I have applied to, and all of the positions that I would like to apply to.

Interfolio logoIf you are applying to multiple job positions that require letters of recommendation, you might want to check out Interfolio. You can ask your recommenders to submit their letters directly to Interfolio. Interfolio also allows you to upload all of your application documents and it sends the application via certified mail or e-mail for you. However, Interfolio has a yearly fee as well as fees for mailing the applications. I found it to be too costly for applying to only three jobs that needed letters of recommendation.

Applying to Jobs

I'm conflicted about whether to recommend to apply to all of the jobs that are applicable to your skill set or whether to be more selective. I personally only feel confident applying to Education Technology positions because I have the strongest expertise in that field. However, Berkeley's Career Center presents a compelling argument for applying to positions even when you may not be a perfect fit (see "The Hiring Process From the Other Side"). Regardless of what you decide, don't select so many jobs to apply to that you feel overwhelmed with the process and give up altogether.

Once you have narrowed down the jobs that you would like to apply to, start by focusing on the three to five jobs that have the earliest deadlines. Take baby steps. Submit those applications first, then complete two to three more at a time until you've completed and submitted all of the applications. This will make the process of organizing five or more documents for 15 or more positions manageable.

Good Luck

As you embark on the process of applying to faculty positions, feel free to share your tips and advice by commenting on this post!


You’re a Researcher, So Do That Research Before a Job Interview

As a grad student at one of the top research universities in the nation and the world, you are well aware of methods and means of doing your research. But when applying and interviewing for a job, do you remember to use those skills?

In a recent column on, John Daly, founder and president of Santa Barbara-based The Key Class, a guide for job search success, says doing your homework on the company you wish to join is crucial.

One tip he offers is to search for three facts about the company. During the job interview, make sure to include these facts as part of the conversation. You are bound to impress the potential employer with your knowledge of the company and how it operates.

Daly gives several other valuable tips on “doing your homework” before the interview. You can read his column on Noozhawk, and view a short, related video by CareerBuilder there.


Advice from a Professor on Managing your Advisor

We came across a helpful website today, How to Do Great Research: Creativity and grad school survival advice from Professor Nick Feamster, which is written by a professor at Georgia Tech. It is full of tips and advice for Ph.D. students. We especially liked the latest blog post about Managing Your Advisor. Some of the tips include:

  • Ask your advisor for what you need
  • Try to meet your advisor once a week, even if you think you have nothing to talk about
  • Attend every single group meeting
  • If you need more of your advisor’s time, ask for it

Head on over to the blog for the full article and let us know if you have any advice on the subject in the comments!


Vitae: A New Online Career Service from the Chronicle of Higher Education

For those students interested in academic jobs, the Chronicle of Higher Education is launching a new online career hub exclusively for higher education called Vitae. It will allow you to get access to exclusive career advice and news, connect to fellow academics, apply for the best jobs, and use career management tools like the free dossier service.

The full site will launch in the fall, but some articles are already posted. Sign up for their mailing list now to receive career advice and updates on the launch.


UCSB Career Services Among Nation’s Most Popular College Career Services Centers on Social Media

UC Santa Barbara's Career Services was recently ranked No. 6 on a list of the nation’s top 25 most popular college career services departments nationwide on social media.

In its first such rankings, JobBrander looked at career services centers at institutions that ranked in the top 200 on U.S. News and World Report’s annual list of the best national universities, where UCSB took the No. 41 spot. In March of this year, UCSB’s Materials, Chemical Engineering, and Education graduate programs were ranked highly in the U.S. News annual list for 2014.

Career Services Director Ignacio GallardoOn JobBrander's list, UCSB outranked such heavyweights as Princeton University (No. 22), Rutgers University (No. 17), and Brown University (No. 15).

Of UCSB’s Career presence on Facebook and Twitter, JobBrander wrote: “UCSB’s career services department is consistent, even throughout the summer, and that commitment has brought them to #6 on our list with over 6,700 likes and followers. Most of their content is advice for job-seekers, but they also highlight career services events like job fairs and workshops.”

UCSB Career Services staff is led by newly named Director Ignacio Gallardo. Don Lubach, Associate Dean of Students and Director of First-Year and Graduate Initiatives, told the GradPost: “Under Gallardo’s leadership, Career Services has been brave and creative with new media. While delivering wonderful, low-tech, face-to-face meetings with graduate students and undergrads, they are always experimenting with new ways to deliver their good services.”

For more information and to see the full list, read JobBrander’s article.


Advice for the Academic Job Search

(Credit: PhD Comics)Last week, Graduate Division hosted a workshop on academic careers for the social sciences and education featuring student panelists who have secured academic positions in the fall.

Student panelists were:

  • Julie Antilla Garza, Education, Assistant Professor at Seattle Pacific University
  • Cat Gaspard, Education, Assistant Professor at Bard College
  • Tabitha Benney, Political Science, Assistant Professor at University of Utah
  • Stephanie Robbins, Communication, Assistant Professor at Ohio University

We have compiled some of the advice they gave for navigating the academic job search from applications to negotiations.

The Search

  • It’s OK to consider location when deciding where to apply—don’t apply to jobs in places where you would not be comfortable living
  • Use a consistent system to keep track of your multiple applications. One panelist kept all application materials in binders separated by job posting.
  • Use Interfolio to manage letters of recommendation
  • Use sites like the Chronicle of Higher Education and Academic Keys to search for jobs. Also check your discipline’s professional society for specialized job lists.
  • Also use your network to find jobs – let people know you are on the job market and you may get job postings before they hit the official sources
  • Get a mentor who just went through the job search
  • Volunteer to be on your current department’s search committee to see what the process is like from the other side

The Application

  • Use the job ad to shape your cover letter and make sure you address all requirements
  • Have multiple people read your letters
  • Tailor each letter to the specific job
  • Don’t just talk about your dissertation, make it clear you have a research plan for the next few years
  • Talk about teaching and service in addition to research, changing the emphasis depending on the mission of the particular university

The Interview

  • Refer to your network to see if they know anyone who works in the department to get some inside scoop
  • Interviews are half about seeing if you are as good in person as you are on paper, and half deciding if they want to have lunch with you as a colleague
  • Ahead of time, get as many details as you can about the on-campus interview, especially the logistics of the job talk and teaching presentation
  • Ask you will be interviewing you and research them
  • Read up on all of the faculty in the department, especially faculty with similar research so you can reference their work in your talk
  • Research the university’s mission and if possible, incorporate it into your job talk
  • Practice your job talk as much as possible
  • To build rapport, ask similar questions back to people in one-on-one interviews or informal situations
  • Prepare questions to ask them in advance and don’t be afraid to pull out the list during the interview
  • One good question to ask faculty: what are department faculty meetings like?
  • Ask the same questions to different people
  • Bring protein bars or other snacks since you might not get a chance to eat much during the day
  • If they ask if you need a bathroom break, take it – use the time to freshen up or quickly eat your snack
  • Be prepared for your voice to hurt after one or more full days of the on-campus interview
  • Send out personal thank you notes to everyone who interviewed you – include a personal connection like an article they might be interested in

The Negotiation

  • Do research on what you can ask for in an academic job offer
  • Some things to consider: moving costs, housing, travel, tuition remission for spouse or dependents, lab space, technology/software, summer ninths, an allowance for visiting speakers
  • All schools are different, so if you’re not sure about something, just ask. If they can’t offer you something, they will let you know and may give you more in another area.
  • Remember that when you get the job offer, they want you – don’t underestimate yourself
  • Don’t be too pushy or demanding – it’s rare, but job offers can be withdrawn

Thanks to the panelists for their time and insights!


Grad Students Entering the Job Market Should Consider a Contingency Plan

As some of us enter the twilight of our tenure as graduate students here at UCSB, we also have to begin to prepare for our future career. Some of us have received career advice from different people, both inside and outside of academia. Some of it is good advice, other advice, not so good. Right? Many of us have also had to work our whole time as students (undergraduate and/or graduate), oftentimes holding more than one job at a time. However, have you ever thought about how these positions of employment could fit into your future career? If you haven't, then you should! You should remember that although you are not being paid a full-time salary, you are more than likely receiving top-notch professional development from your supervisor/s. Another way of seeing your employment is as a "contingency plan" for your future job or career hunt. Here's why: There are not enough academic positions available in today's job market, even for those with a Ph.D.

There was a recent article contributed to Inside Higher Education that addressed this very issue, although from a different perspective. The article is titled "Have a Contingency Plan." The author, Nate Kreuter, argues that advising would-be graduate students to apply to "only graduate or terminal degree programs if they can only envision themselves as professors" is bad advice. Kreuter suggests that if you can't picture yourself as only being a professor, then that's not a bad thing either. Although Kreuter is a professor, he also mentions that he could "envision himself doing many other things utilizing the skills and knowledge he acquired from graduate school." Kreuter also suggests that even when graduate students are certain they want to be career professors, they should still explore, and apply, for employment in non-academic fields related to their areas of study and/or interests. "I think that it is only prudent in these times of scarce academic employment for you to cultivate some viable alternatives prior to actually going into the academic job market."

Recently there has been a growing effort on campus to help promote non-academic career exploration and professional development  opportunities. The Career Services department does a wonderful job of facilitating workshops on searching and preparing for non-academic careers. Molly Steen, the graduate advisor for Career Services, can assist you with your non-academic career exploration.The Career Services staff can assist with developing or revising your resume or CV; perform a search for non-academic employment (discipline-specific or not), as well as prepare for job talks or interviews. The Career Services department is definitely one of our best resources as graduate students for fine-tuning our job search efforts.

Given today's state of employment for recent graduate students, I agree with Nate Kreuter that it is in our best interest to also explore employment opportunities outside of professorial appointments. I also believe that there should be more flexibility for employment for those with advanced or professional degrees. For example, we can get involved with or create our own business; for-profit or non-profit organization; and utilize your network of graduate peers, advocates and mentors to help develop and sustain your company. Of course, there are plenty of other ideas for entrepreneurial work as an academic; you just have to be open enough to explore the possibilities.


Workshop Shares How Grad Students Can Effectively ‘Advertise’ Themselves in Resumes, CVs

Molly Steen, Acting Associate Director of UCSB Career Services, discusses the importance of tailoring your resume or CV to the job opening. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Think of a resume as a “targeted ad” that shows you off to an employer. But before you can place that “ad,” you need to know what skills, strengths, and experience you have to offer the employer; and you need to organize all of this information in a concise, well-written, attention-getting document. Molly Steen, Acting Associate Director of UCSB Career Services, shared with grad students how to go about doing just that in her recent workshop, “Resume/CV Writing for Graduate Students – with some job search tips, too.”

Steen focused on two areas of job searches: academia and the private sector. She went over what specific sections are included in a CV and on a resume; and how the two documents differ. She also offered tips on when and how to apply for positions in the two sectors.

“The CV [Curriculum Vitae] is far more comprehensive” than a resume, Steen told the grad students. “It really shows off who you are as an academic, a researcher, a teaching professional; and how you have been giving back to the community. It’s going to show off all of those things and in a more lengthy manner than a resume will do.”

The typical length of a CV for a recent grad student, she said, is three to five pages. In general, higher education institutions prefer CVs over resumes, said Steen. The exceptions, she said, are community colleges, which tend to want resumes from applicants for teaching positions.

The basic sections of a CV are: name and contact information; education; experience; and references. The name should be in larger size type and preferably boldfaced to stand out, Steen said. It isn’t necessary to include a street address or hometown address, she said, unless, for example, you would like to be hired at your hometown university, and you want to show that you still have ties there. What is necessary is an email address, a phone number, and if you have one, a website that shows your work.

Under Education, list the most recent degree first (Ph.D., master’s, then bachelor’s). List an associate’s degree, she said, only if you want to show a geographic connection or if you studied something at that level that demonstrates your knowledge of the specialty sought by the university. You may list the title of your dissertation and/or thesis, and if you studied abroad, include it here.

Under the Experience heading, list jobs in reverse chronological order. Tailor your CV to the job description, she advises. For example, if applying to an R1 institution, highlighting your work as an academic is key – your research, publications, presentations at conferences, teaching, and community involvement.

“You are going to want to keep your reader focused for as long as possible on your strongest qualifications for this particular position,” Steen said. Other areas to include are courses taught, guest lectures, student government leader positions, and off-campus volunteer work.

Because universities are looking for those three pillars (research, teaching, and community involvement), Steen suggests working on your qualifications in each of these areas while you are still in school.

Both the CV and the resume should be tailored for the specific position you are applying for, said Steen, who discouraged the use of a one-size-fits-all, general purpose resume and CV for all positions.

“The CV should change, at least slightly, for that position at Dartmouth compared to the position at Cal State Northridge,” Steen said by way of example. “Dartmouth is looking for different things, and you need to demonstrate that to them. That goes along with knowing what you have to offer.”

If you have some but not all of the qualifications for a particular position you are interested in, Steen said, go ahead and pursue the position. “Don’t think you have to match everything that’s on a job description in order to apply,” she said. “That is a sure way to not get a job.”

“As with any kind of job search, it’s incumbent upon you to know what you have to offer,” Steen said. “You need to understand yourself, what your expertise is, what your skills are, and so forth. And you need to get all of that information organized. So that when you go out to apply for different positions, you know what your strengths are going to be for that position as opposed to another position.”

Unlike the private sector, “there is definitely a season for academic hiring,” Steen said. She suggests that all documents be ready to go by Sept. 1 for jobs that start the following summer or fall.

These documents include letters of recommendation, which should be sought out well in advance of applying. Professors and advisors are very busy once the academic year starts, so she suggests being courteous and respectful of recommenders and giving them sufficient time to prepare letters for you. Advisors are also good sources for feedback on your job application materials, she added.

Other resources that can assist in a grad student’s career search, Associate Director Steen said, include websites such as job boards; and professional associations for conference and networking opportunities.

“Don’t forget LinkedIn,” Steen added. “It is a very valuable tool, both in academia and outside of academia.” Through LinkedIn, she said, students can meet and connect virtually with many others who have similar career and professional interests. Joining LinkedIn groups helps you network, she said, and those groups often post jobs as well.

Personal associations, Steen said, not only include friends and family members, but also professors and faculty members. “They know who is doing what out there in the field,” she said, and they may know others who are doing work similar to yours.

"As with any kind of job search, it’s incumbent upon you to know what you have to offer. You need to understand yourself, what your expertise is, what your skills are, and so forth. And you need to get all of that information organized. So that when you go out to apply for different positions, you know what your strengths are going to be for that position as opposed to another position."
-Molly Steen, Career Services

The minimum required application materials for academic positions, she said, are generally: a letter of application that includes a description of your research and teaching; a CV; samples of your work; and letters of recommendation.

If a job posting in academia asks for three letters of recommendation, you can and should send more, Steen suggested. Don’t go more than two additional letters beyond what is requested, she advised, and make sure they are good, strong letters. “Think about it in terms of being competitive with others who are applying,” she said.

Steen told the grad students about Career Services’ Reference Letter Service. Letters of recommendation from professors and employers are stored and then sent out when requested. There is a fee for this service. A similar service not related to the university is Interfolio.

If you are unsure what career path to follow, Steen suggests taking one or more fee-based career assessments. These tests aren’t for everybody, she said, but for some they can be very helpful in determining which fields you are best suited for based on your interests, personality style, values, and skills. Academic Peer Torrey Trust took some of these assessments; read our February 2013 career assessment GradPost article to learn how the experience went for her.

“There’s not a particular season for hiring outside of academia,” said Steen, who advised applying for positions a minimum of three months before you are ready to go to work, or even as early as six months ahead of time. As for where to look, “GauchoLink [accessed via a current UCSB NetID] is the main place for jobs for UCSB students.”

Steen said a resume is short, concise, and “really is an ad about you.” You have much more flexibility with a resume than you do with a CV. The resume’s purpose “is to get you an interview,” Steen said.

“One of the reasons that the resume needs to be so brief and focused,” she said, “is that outside of academia, far less time gets spent by the employer in reading them.” Years ago, research showed that employers devoted about 30 seconds to read one resume. But Steen said recent studies have shown that employers spend a mere eight to 10 seconds reading a resume. “So you need to clearly convey what your value is for this position.”

The rule of thumb on length, she said, is one page of resume for every 10 years of experience. “Your resume will grow with time.”

Steen suggests adding an Objective to your resume, which you would tailor for the specific position sought. The resume should then support that objective. Go over everything you’ve done (employment, volunteer work, projects, research) and find the best examples that demonstrate you can meet that objective.  Although some would say not to include an objective, “there is no single right way to do a resume,” Steen said. “It’s very subjective.” Including an objective won’t hurt, and might even help, she said.

Other items that can be listed on a resume are honors, activities, skills that are specifically requested, lab skills, foreign languages, and travel if travel is required or if it demonstrates cross-cultural sensibilities.

There are two types of resumes: the chronological format resume with jobs listed in reverse order; and the functional resume, which has all the same information as the chronological one but is packaged differently to focus on skills.

When describing skills and work experience, use strong verbs, Steen advised. Career Services’ manual has a page devoted to action words. Highlight your accomplishments, be specific, and quantify whenever possible, she said. Doing so “really helps to breathe life into what those accomplishments are.”

As for references, she said, there is no need to use valuable space to say “Available on request.” However, you should prepare a separate page of references. Give the employer this list, and let your recommenders know that they may be called. It’s also a good idea, Steen said, to give your recommenders a copy of your resume so they can refer to it when giving a recommendation for you. And always thank your references, she added.

“Don’t think you have to match everything that’s on a job description in order to apply. That is a sure way to not get a job.”
-Molly Steen, Career Services

For some positions, an employer will ask for a cover letter in addition to a resume. If the job posting says to send a resume, Steen advised sending both a resume and a cover letter.

“The cover letter gives you another opportunity to convey your value to the employer. It also gives you an opportunity to show off your writing ability.” Steen suggested a cover letter of no more than three paragraphs. Clearly state what you can do for that employer and why you want to work for that company. This requires some research, she said.

Steen encouraged grad students to stop by Career Services during drop-in hours for 10-minute resume critiques. Hours are Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Career Resource Room. If a longer meeting is desired, students may make 30-minute appointments with career counselors. Steen also has drop-in hours specifically for grad students: Tuesdays from 1 to 2 p.m.; and Fridays from 11 a.m. to noon.

Grad students are welcome to pick up a free copy of the Career Manual at the Career Services Center (Building 599). In it are sections for Graduate Students (with a sample curriculum vitae); Job Search Tools (including sample resumes and cover letters); and Job Search Strategies (including networking, online searches, and Career Fair success).

Some final words of advice from Steen: Be positive, be persistent, don’t embellish, and always be truthful and accurate.


UCSB Career Services, 805-893-4412

Graduate Student section of Career Services website


Career Services’ Reference Letter Service

UCSB Career Services’ Career Manual (available for free at Career Services)

Interfolio (higher education credential management)

GauchoLink (UCSB's official site for jobs, internships, and on-campus interviews)


The Tenure-Track Job Search: Start Building Your CV Now!

Female shaking handsSource: Microsoft OfficeIn The Chronicle of Higher Education's article, "The Long Odds of the Faculty Job Search," Audrey Williams June paints a grim picture for doctoral students interested in pursuing tenure-track positions. With some tenure-track position openings receiving up to 600 applications, colleagues, advisors and advisees, classmates, and the public at-large all compete for one job.

June's article reviews the qualifications of 117 applicants for a junior faculty position in creative writing at Ohio University. Many of the applicants had published books, presented at highly esteemed conferences, and designed and taught multiple courses. In this strong pool of applicants, 12 individuals made the first cut. According to June, having a proven track record of teaching multiple genres to both undergraduate and graduate students and a strong writing sample were key determining factors that helped the 12 applicants make it to the second round. In the end, an assistant professor from another university was hired for the position.

So, what does this mean for graduate students? We've got our work cut out for us when we go on the job market!

If you are planning on pursuing a faculty position, start building your CV early in your graduate school career—write grant and fellowship proposals, apply to present at conferences, submit many articles for publication, teach or TA for multiple courses, and take advantage of Instructional Development's workshops and programs to improve your teaching skills.

When you start your job search, apply to as many jobs as you can. It's better to cast a wide net and to get a job that may not be your first choice rather than to apply to only a few jobs that you would really like to pursue.


Having the Talk with Your Advisor: Pursuing an Alternative Career Path

Inside Higher Ed logoAlmost every day, I waver back and forth between pursuing a faculty position and pursuing a non-academic position (e.g., Student Affairs, Instructional Design, Non-Profit Organization). It doesn't help that I'm in the middle of coding over 10,000 lines of data for my dissertation and the realization that this is only my first "pass" through the data (e.g., I will be combing through it multiple times) often sends me in search of job postings outside of academia. 

So, when I read the article, "Having 'The Talk'," I was surprised to learn how advisors may react negatively if you tell them that you are pursuing a non-academic position. I thought this was a graduate school myth. However, the article brings up some important points to consider. While there is nothing wrong with pursuing a position outside of academia, I think this article is a helpful read for understanding the faculty advisor's point of view. The article also reminds you to think about whether your faculty advisor will be a good job reference if they respond negatively to you pursuing an alternative career path.

If you plan on pursuing a non-academic job or if the thought has ever crossed your mind, take a few moments and browse through the article:

Page 1 ... 5 6 7 8 9 ... 24 Next 10 Entries »