If you are one of the many academics who has found him- or herself out of work in this climate of economic uncertainty, now is the time to turn what may appear as a negative into a positive. In fact, there are a number of things you can do to improve your chances of getting back into the higher education sector. For example, you can upgrade your skills, polish up your CV, practice your interview techniques, write up papers that you’ve been putting off interminably, network with others in your peer group, both socially and online, and many other things in between.
Don’t rest on your laurels!
As an out of work academic, it is very easy to relax a little and take time out from academic life. Better to use the time to develop your academic profile and make yourself attractive to future employers.
- Like most academics, you’ve probably got two or even three papers in rough draft mode. Why not research further and prepare another draft or develop one into a full paper?
- Similarly, you may have drawn up an outline for an academic book. Why not spend the time editing it and sending off some “query letters” to potential publishers?
- If you don’t fancy doing this alone, why not contact some friends or peers and suggest setting time aside to collaborate on some peer reviewed articles together?
In addition to the suggestions above, you could consider taking the bull by the horns and completely revamping your academic image. Here are ways to do this:
- Draw up a list of all the conferences you really wanted to attend but couldn’t because you were too busy.
- Contact the organizers and offer a paper to present at one of the conferences.
- Write the paper up later and send off to a publisher.
- Alternatively, if your writing skills are good, contact publishers in your field and offer your editing and proofreading services for ongoing publications.
- Ask a professional to look over your CV and find ways to showcase it both in print and online e.g. register it with academic employment websites.
Develop an online presence
As well as the written word on paper in academia, there is also a bigger online information superhighway where literally thousands of other likeminded academics are busy doing the same things. Use the internet to network with them.
- Create a Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube account specifically showcasing your academic achievements and interests.
- Create your own academic blog detailing conferences attended, uploading videos of your most successful workshops or presentations, and generally sharing ideas with your peers.
- Add links to your blog from Youtube inviting others to comment and develop discussions.
- Even if you can’t physically attend conferences, you can often chat in their online conference forums and share your research data and ideas.
There really isn’t any reason why you can’t seize this opportunity to enhance your academic profile and land your dream job.