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Uncle Wuffle's Advice on Job Talks

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 September 2006

A Wuffle
University of California, Irvine


Giving a job talk has multiple aims. Most important of these: to get a job. But, it also makes sense to think about a job talk as (a) practice that will improve your skills for future job interviews, making it more likely that you will eventually get a job, even if not this one, (b) a kind of initiation ritual into the profession, and (c) a way to broaden your academic network and make new friends. It is your chance to persuade your peers (and perhaps your future colleagues) that you are a promising/accomplished scholar, a potentially good colleague, and a good teacher—not necessarily in that order. Priorities attached to these desiderata will vary from department to department (with major differences to be expected between research-oriented departments and those with a more liberal arts focus), but even within any given department, different members of the department will undoubtedly attach different weights to each of these three concerns. Such relevant information will be conveyed in a job talk.

© 2006 The American Political Science Association

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