First time on the job market and I know it likely differs by area… I'm just curious for those in the clinical/counseling area- how many apps are you sending out? My mentor recommended between 10-15, but it sounds like others are applying for many more than that. If you can provide insight, I'd appreciate it. I'm applying at a wide range of schools- R2, liberal arts and teaching positions and have a small number of pubs (6) plus others under review/revision & a large amount of teaching experience (10 independent instructor, 10 GTA).
I'm in clinical/health and am applying to five places, but I am also being really picky this year due to geographic restrictions. I have another shot next year and will apply more widely. I think it really depends on how many chances you have on the market, what kind of backup plan you have, and whether you have any restrictions. More than 15 seems like too many to me, because it will be much harder to target your materials to each place, but I know that some people apply to more than that.
30+. I'm in clinical/cognitive and I'm growing tired of being a post-doc.
I'm a first year assistant prof and I applied to about 30 places last year (clinical). I applied to any/every open clinical position at a university with a clinical PhD program. Had I opened myself up to liberal arts college jobs or places with only masters programs it would have been many, many more. 10-15 is a good number for internship applications, but seems on the low side for faculty jobs.
At the end of this year, I will have applied to at least 31 positions ranging from teaching positions to R2s. I am actually really hoping to get a postdoc but in my area these are pretty few.
You can't hurt your chances of getting a job by applying to many schools. Be aggressive.
I think the only reasons to limit your search are a) apps take time and you presumably have a job/career to maintain; b) you might fail to do any personalization of the cover letters if you apply to too many; and c) you might lose perspective on your goals by having so many schools to manage. What I mean by that is that you could get a campus invite for a school you added at the last second that you didn't even care about, and they want a decision while you're waiting to hear back from the school(s) you care deeply about. If you can't maintain focus about what you want, then it's best to just not apply to so many darn places. Other than that, though, there is really no harm in applying broadly. It doesn't take that much time to send materials to a new place. It's a lot more work to add LACs when you were only going to do R1s, but if you were already doing both then what's the harm in adding more applications? You might be surprised by some places (in both directions—you might get considered somewhere you thought was out of reach on the one hand, and you might really like a place you thought was not great on the other hand).
I started off with about 15-20 apps but as more postings came up the number has increased…might be 40 in the end! To all kinds of positions.