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Jump Start Your Career During Summer

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Attention professionals in academia: the summer is almost over. Hopefully, you were able to accomplish all that you had planned to and hoped for because in the coming weeks you will be thrust back into the classroom and your professional advancement will have to move to the slow lane while you enrich the minds of America's upcoming generations.

The education profession is unique in that no other profession is allowed three months of "vacation" every year. Now this is not to say that these months are spent at the beach, on a yacht, or sipping wine in Paris; this is a time when you are able to focus extensively on your personal and professional goals. Goals, which range from completing a research project for which you previously did not have the time to finalizing the article you hope to have published in the Journal of Applied Physics, that are vital to your professional pursuits.

In addition to those goals, summer also affords you a great opportunity to take on the activities that are directly related to your job search; activities that you may have pushed to the back burner during the hectic academic year and that you now have the time to complete. Below is a list of tasks that you should try to complete or at least begin, if you haven't already, during the remaining weeks of summer.

Summer Task #1 - Create or update your curriculum vitae. The curriculum vitae (CV) may seem daunting, especially if this is your first time trying to put one together, but it's not as overwhelming as you may think. Essentially, CVs are in-depth resumes that describe your academic and research experiences. If this is your first time attempting to compile your CV, you may want to cross reference books, your career services center, or even fellow colleagues. Above all, the goal of any good CV is to showcase your stellar qualifications for the hiring committees who will be reviewing them. If you've already compiled at CV in the past, you want to look it over and make sure that it is up to date and also that it is sending the message you want it to.

Summer Task #1a - Complete (or start) additional employment documents as needed. In addition to your CV, committees may also want to get a feel for your teaching style and/or philosophy and will request that you complete a statement of purpose or something similar to this. Although you may not complete them, as you will want to include specific information regarding the institution to which you are applying, now is the best time to start composing these documents.

Summer Task #2 - Get to know the industry. There are hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States, and all have strengths and weaknesses. Research these institutions on the Internet and talk to colleagues to discover what they like or don't like about their current institution. This will help you get a better idea of what you can expect when working at that particular college/university. It may also offer some insight into whether or not certain institutions will be a good "fit" for you.

Summer Task #3 - Assemble references. The tell-tale sign of what you were able to accomplish in your previous position is directly related to who your references are and what those individuals have to say about you. These are vital, as they will substantiate your great qualities for hiring committees. Also, if you have used someone as a reference before, you may want that individual to update his or her letter. It is sometimes tempting to put this off, but collecting your references as soon as possible will only benefit you.

Summer Task #4 - Garner support. Finding a job that's right for you in the world of academia is not always an easy and swift undertaking. This is why you will need a support group when things don't go as planned. Of course friends and family will support you, but often they are unfamiliar with the inner workings of the academic field; because of this, you need to tell them how and why it is unique. This will allow them to support you more completely when things go wrong or when they go right. In addition to family and friends, you can also find solace in those individuals who know the field and understand what you're going through better than anyone else—the people who work in it.

Summer Task #5 - Take it easy. It is summer after all, and with the academic year behind you, you deserve a break. Of course this is the perfect time to move your academic career forward, but it is also the perfect time to re-charge your batteries and prepare for the coming year.

And who knows, maybe the time you take to rejuvenate yourself will involve going to the beach, taking a trip by the bay on a yacht, or sipping wine in Paris.
On the net:Journal of Applied Physics

Writing Your Curriculum Vitae, Dartmouth College

France Travele
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