I am currently on my clinical psychology internship and plan on applying for faculty positions this year. I am interested in hearing others' thoughts/advice related to applying to tenure track jobs right out of grad school and without a postdoc.
Date: 01 Aug 2013 01:53
Number of posts: 6
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Do it. You have nothing to lose. But, I recommend applying for post-docs, too, as sort of a "back-up plan." From my own experience, articles on the psychology job market, and what others have reported here from past job searches, a post-doc is not a necessary prerequisite for a tenure-track position nor is it a guarantee for such.
I'm not clinical, but I applied during my last year of grad school. I got some interviews at top places, but no jobs. Preparing for these really slowed my production down during the fall and spring. So I would say if you think you have a great shot, I'd apply. However, you certainly do have something to lose if you get several interviews but no job. You will lose productivity and be less attractive the following year when you probably will have a better chance of landing a job (you'll likely have more papers).
Apply. If you get a job it means that you are ready/qualified. However, the only way to find this out is to throw your hat into the ring.
As a side note I was fortunate enough to get hired at an R1 last year. However, prior to that I had 2 years on the market without hearing a peep. Now sitting on the other side of the market I am struck by two important facts:
1) Due to the sheer number of applicants there is a massive amount of noise in the process.
2) Fit is overwhelmingly important and there is no guarantee that a particular research area will be represented each year's posts.
To insulate yourself from these two facts it is in your best interest to apply to every job you want when they are posted. Good people get passed over and this can happen repeatedly. The more often you apply the greater your chances.
I applied to tenure-track jobs (in Psychology departments…I assume that's what you're talking about here?) while on internship, and I was the only person in my cohort going that route so I too was plagued with questions. My plan was to apply for jobs in the fall and then apply for post-docs in the winter, ramping up the postdoc apps if I got no bites on the tenure-track front. I basically went in with a "eh, what the hell" mentality, hoping I would get at least one phone interview so I could get some practice on that front. Much to my surprise, I got several phone interviews and campus interviews (and eventually a job). It's hard to figure out what the reasons were for my sucess, except that (a) my research interests allowed me to apply to both health psych and regular clinical psych positions, and (b) I have interest and experience in teaching undergraduate "service" courses like research methods and stats. These are courses I happen to love and many faculty happen to hate, so I'm pretty sure that helped.
I saw some stats at a conference a few years ago, and a decent chunk of applicants for clinical positions successfully obtain jobs without a postdoc.
QUOTE = "It's hard to figure out what the reasons were for my sucess, except that (a) my research interests allowed me to apply to both health psych and regular clinical psych positions, and (b) I have interest and experience in teaching undergraduate "service" courses like research methods and stats."
I just wanted to note to all readers, that MeAsstProfToo's comment holds a critical point for any who want to gain an academic tenure track position… 1) Apply, even if you haven't had a post-doc or feel that you may have more "to do". If you have a Ph.D. completed or are in your final year of completion and want an academic job, then just apply. Academic hiring is weird. Often the final decision is based on how a candidate "fits" with a department. I've seen plenty of cases where post-docs or people with seemingly incredible CVs are passed-up for more junior candidates who have no post-doc experiences or are just finishing grad school. Often, the impression hiring committees get from the interviews plays a fundamental role. So, apply. You could get lucky - but won't if you're not in the game.
2) Be sure to emphasize a few "service" courses you could teach. If you're not telling hiring committees that you're willing to take-on an introductory psychology course, a statistics course, a research methods course, or some "survey" level course then you're killing your application in most cases. Be sure to do this and be sure to convey enthusiasm for teaching these if invited for an interview.
As always, best wishes for all on the job market.