Student Job Seekers
These pages are dedicated for current students in the UIC graduate studies program in English, explaining what to expect from the job market for reseach/teaching positions at 4-year colleges and universities.
For more information regarding this topic, please download the following document.
Building a dossier
In most job advertisements, the term "dossier" refers simply to confidential letters of recommendation written by your professors (when you are just graduating) and eventually by other colleagues in your field (people who know your work and/or have observed your teaching). Graduate students applying for their first academic jobs should have letters from their dissertation/thesis director or primary advisor, members of their committee who have worked closely with them, and at least one letter focused on teaching by someone other than the dissertation/thesis director or primary advisor.
Alumni returning to the job market after having held at least one academic position will want to have as few letters as possible from their original graduate school professors and advisors. Letters should come from colleagues in the field (including those at their current institution), if possible from those who are widely recognized. Anyone returning to the market should try to request updated letters wherever possible, even if it's just to get the recommender to change the year's date. In general, letters in the dossier should certainly never be more than a year old.
It's a good idea to give your recommenders plenty of notice when asking for a new letter or an update of an existing letter.
Managing Your Dossier
The UIC Department of English uses an online service called Interfolio, allowing you to store materials including but not limited to transcripts, writing samples, resumes/CVs, and teaching evaluations.
The only job material an account holder cannot upload or view on his or her own is a confidential letter of recommednation. Signed official hard copies of letters of recommendation should be submitted to the Office of Graduate studies, c/o Graduate Coordinator Neil O'Callaghan. Once approved by the Director of Graduate Studies, a letter is uploaded within two business days.
To set up an account to manage your dossier, you should contact Graduate Coordinator Neil O'Callaghan to receive instructions and a special code. The promotional discount is valid for five years from the time of sign-up
Attached is a useful guide to setting up and using Interfolio.
Sample Job Materials
The Department of English does make sample job materials (including CVs, job letters, dissertation abstracts, and teaching philosophies) available on the corrdesponding Blackboard Site. If you are a current UIC student and would like to be added to the users list, email Graduate Coordinator Neil O'Callaghan.
Where to apply for jobs
There are a number of places to look for academic jobs. Visiting or tenure-track teaching/research positions at 4-year colleges and universities will usually emphasize research and publication in addition to teaching (teaching loads will often be 2-2, 3-2, or 3-3).
Teaching and administrative positions (tenure and non-tenure-track) at junior, community and some 4-year colleges will often emphasize teaching or administrative duties over research (administrative jobs may be 9-5, teaching jobs may involve higher courseloads -- 4-3, 4-4 or more).
Postdoctoral fellowships are usually 1- or 2-year positions that involve a comparatively low teaching load and encourage the pursuit of research and publication. Applicants for these positions tend to be in the first year or two out of graduate school.
Use the links below according to the type of position you are seeking:
Key Job Lists
Modern Language Association's Job Information List (JIL)
Listings for literature, creative writing, and rhet/comp jobs at www.ade.org starting in the 3rd week of Sept. Useride & password required - contact Placement Director for more information. (Be sure to go through the ADE site for the list, not through www.mla.org -- our passcode only works through ADE.)
AWP (Associated Writing Programs) Career Center
Listings for creative writing and composition jobs at
We don't have a subscription password, but print lists usually are available through the Program for Writers.
NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Classifieds for English ed and rhet/comp jobs
Listings at http://serv1.ncte.org/classifieds/
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Listings for a variety of academic jobs at http://chronicle.com/jobs/
Week-old ads can be searched without a subscription password Key Job Interview Venues
Information at www.mla.org
Feb/March/April (schedule varies)
Information at www.awpwriter.org
CCCC (Conference on College Composition and Communication, aka Four C's)
March (schedule varies)
Information at www.ncte.org/profdev/conv/cccc