Do people have any thoughts about applying for jobs that aren't exactly tailored to you in terms of focus? For example, imagine a job that says they want someone who does something with language, but you do stuff on memory or vision or something else. Is it ever worth applying to those jobs? I figured maybe sometimes they don't find a person who doesn't exactly what they want, but then maybe they'll just consider good candidates who are in the same larger area (i.e., Cognitive or Developmental or Social) but who don't do that exact thing. I would assume that if it's a Developmental job and you are a Cognitive person it's a REALLY big long shot, but maybe if it's a Developmental job and you are a Developmental person who does other stuff, maybe it's worth doing? Do people have any experience with this?
I applied for a job that I thought I wasn't that good of a fit for based no what they wanted me to teach, but they interviewed me anyway and on my interview I learned that I fit what they wanted afterall. I got the job and accepted.
I also got an interview for a job that asked for one of two unrelated areas (but that could be combined in a few people). I was pretty tangentially related to one area of the two areas (and completely unrelated to the other) and got that interview anyway, but not the position.
I know someone who is a cogneuro person who got hired for a social position at a very prestigious university because they said he was kind of JDM (judgment and decision-making) and JDM is kind of a social topic, too.
So basically, you should just apply if you want to, but don't expect much! I'd say for a job that wants language and you do visual memory, just say you are aware of the job ad but why you are interested in (and qualified for) teaching language, and then hope for the best. You never know.
I think its OK to do this and agree with juniorfaculty. That said, jobs where they have very specific teaching/academic diversity needs are often recruiting for those needs. And SCs often prefer people from their own sub-area and advertise as such. Other SCs may want diversity amongst faculty, but will consider you anyway. My Department chair in grad school lived by the "take the best person regardless of sub-area" credo and I like that, but SCs/program faculties can be very biased towards their sub-area in many cases.
I am in my 2nd year of a TT position, and when I applied I only did so because the broad field of research matched. I did not meet any of the more specific criteria for the position in posted in their ad. In my application materials, I acknowledged this, and stated that I would be willing to collaborate with other department members on projects that were more consistent with the posting in the job ad. Now that I have the position, they are encouraging me to continue my main line of research, and not focus on switching topics to be more in line with their job ad. Basically, there is no downside to applying widely. Acknowledge your lack of fit in your application, and state how you might pivot your research to be in line with the criteria in the ad.
APPLY APPLY APPLY APPLY
We are doing a search right now and looking for something specific, but it's not clear that any of the applicants clearly match that. So the next step will be to consider more broadly applicants who have demonstrated research/teaching excellence, or the potential for excellence, with interesting research and teaching styles.
So, when it doubt, apply apply. You can't be considered if you don't apply.
p.s. I'm social. I interviewed in cognitive, health, quantitative positions, even if I'm somewhat of a stretch for the last two and have maybe one study that could fit under pure cognitive. Some schools will be flexible, others will be rigid.