A few days ago, I facilitated an event organised by Ellie Mackin Roberts (I want to be clear: she definitely did most of the work!) at the Institute of Classical Studies in London, designed around helping early-career Classicists navigate academia beyond their PhD. The morning focused on publishing and the REF, and the afternoon was all about job applications.
The two halves of the day were very different in a way – talking to academic publishers about what they look for, or a head of department about what he thinks REF will mean for his staff is quite different to people discussing their own recent job-hunting experiences (we even discussed our own, real job applications in some detail). But there were some overall themes which I took away from the day as well:
- Be aware of the professional environment you’re working in (e.g. REF, funding bodies), but don’t obsess about it. Departments might expect you to show some awareness of these factors, but they won’t expect you to know the intricacies of the rules, especially as they won’t know a lot of the REF details themselves yet.
- Quality is more important than quantity – and, just as importantly, don’t be shy about showing confidence and belief in your work.
- Take advice and feedback from colleagues (in your department, in other departments, in other disciplines), but also think critically about the advice you’re given. It’s OK to ignore advice that you think is wrong for you.
Though I’m starting to edge out of the early-career category, these are themes that I think I can really take to heart as well. Thanks again to everyone who participated in the day.
Some resources have come out of the day, and I wanted to share these here.
- Charlotte Mathieson has written up her contribution on the REF’s impact on ECRs.
- Ellie Mackin Roberts will be putting together a Storify of the #ICSECR hashtag – but for now, here’s the link to the hashtag itself.
- If you’re looking for job-interview resources, I have a list of interview questions here and a short guide to JRFs here.
- Ellie has written about her HEA fellowship application here, and I’ve put up my bibliography for my PCAP course here.
We’re hoping to make these ECR days regular-ish events at the ICS, so please let me (or Ellie) know if you have any feedback on these resources or suggestions for what we could do in future.
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