"Get A Job"
A Resource Site for MSCS Graduate Students

You have studied, you have frazzled your nerves and spent your future earnings on coffee or other stimulants of choice; and now, it is time to leave the safety of the university, and head out to the real world, or perhaps just another university. Whatever, the competition is gearing up for the search, and it is never too early for you to start preparing also.

The Mathematics Job Market this year, for positions starting in August 2010, looks especially tough. This makes it more important than ever to give thought to what sort of positions you are applying for, whether it be a Research Postdoc; a position at a four-year College, primarily focusing on Teaching; or with Government or Industry. And, if your search for suitable employment turns up fruitless this year, to consider what options you have - from taking a Visiting Lecturer position at a local college or university, or possibly working in Industry until the employment situation in education improves. These are all aspects of the job search which make it one of the more trying experiences you may encounter.

The purpose of this web site, and others like it, is to help you organize your thoughts on the job search, provide you with some basic strategies, and motivate to start early with this task. The AMS Academic Job Search page is an excellent place to start out reading. Also check out the advice and resources on the Graduate Studies Employment Resources website prepared by Kari Dueball, Assistant Director of Graduate Studies.

The purpose of this web site is to also suggest basic strategies and tips, to make your job search more effective and possibly slightly less stressful. It differs from the AMS Academic Job Search page not so much in message, but in local content. We gather together here various MSCS resources that you might find helpful in your final year as a graduate student , such as Thesis and other useful TeX macros, and suggestions for local employment .

Finally, if you want to read a case study that makes the process all too real, read the blog written by our own Phil Grizzard about his search for a position starting in August 2007. He offers a variety of helpful comments, and insider perspectives. Comments by other recent graduates can be found on the Young Mathematicians' Network.

Now, it is time to read on - or jump to the link below that has resources useful to your search.

Also, if you prefer, parts of this web site are now available, translated into Russian: Marketing & Resume.

LaTeX & Preparing Your Thesis

Almost all MSCS Masters & Doctoral Theses are submitted using the UICThesis LaTeX style. In addition, you will need to prepare a short Vita, and an Abstract in precise format for your thesis. The style files and samples are available here. If you are new to using the LaTeX mathematical typesetting system, then now is time to start learning it. This is especially true if you are in the favorable position to write up parts of your thesis research in preprint form, for submission and posting to the arXiv. Check out the links to tutorial web sites and useful documents to aid in "TeX'ing".

Marketing & Networking

Getting a job offer is a matter of networking and selling your wares - yourself!

Starting the Search

Where do you look for positions? Look here for some of the web resources, starting with the EIMS and MathJobs.org, and including the link to the new AMS Employment Center for the Annual Combined Meeting in San Francisco in January 2010.

Cover Letters

You will need a cover letter to introduce yourself to a prospective employer. Here's some points about what to say in the letter, and a link to using the MSCS web macro for creating it.

Curriculum Vitae

Your Curriculum Vitae is often the first impression prospective employers have of you. Make sure it is well-prepared, so they know at a glance what your strengths are, and why they should hire you.

Research Statements

The Research Statement is required for all jobs with a research aspect. It summarizes your thesis paper and plans for subsequent work. This can be frustrating to write, so make sure you ask for help from your advisor or other faculty members. Here are some basic tips to help you get started.

Teaching Statement & Portfolio

The Teaching Statement is just as important as the Research Statement, although it seems almost impossible to know what you should write. But just as a Research Statement summarizes your research work, the Teaching Statement can summarize your Teaching Portfolio. We give tips on composing your Teaching Statement, and making your Teaching Portfolio.

Letters of Recommendation

Basically, you want and need excellent letters of recommendation. Here are some tips and possible mistakes to avoid.

Developing Your Personal Website

Your personal website presents yourself to your prospective employers. It can give much more extensive documentation than you may submit to MathJobs.org or otherwise send out. Plus, they are almost expected of applicant these days, so seriously consider creating your website, or if you have one, updating it to make it look totally professional.

Using Beamer & TeX for Talks

If you get invited to visit a prospective employers campus, you will probably be asked to give a job talk - especially for a research position. For research talks, give serious consideration to preparing your talk ahead using the beamer software package with LaTeX. If you are given either a 10 or 20 minute talk at a meeting, then this is now the standard way to deliver it.

Surviving The Interview

Whether the interview is at the JobCenter in San Francisco, or the office of the Dean at a prospective job, the interview is crucial. Give it some thought ahead of the moment - and read about others' experiences with this challenge.

Quick Links

Here are some of the best links from the items above - collected in one place for quick access.

October 14, 2009, edited May 29, 2014 - The "Get A Job" website was first posted to the web in 1996, updated in 1998, by Steve Hurder