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Graduate Job Market Checklist

Job Market Checklist


during June:

  • If you are certain to be attending the MLA convention, apply for $100 subvention from MLA.
  • Will you have completed all but one chapter of your dissertation by September?
  • Submit finished article-length pieces of work to journals.

by September:

  • Join MLA and register for convention (you can cancel later for a nominal fee, so it's best to register now to secure the hotel you want).
  • Set up a file at Career Services.
  • Notify Deborah Burnham of your intentions, and request a teaching letter for your file.
  • Subscribe to the Humanities job listserv at Career Services by sending an email to

September 1:

  • Email latest drafts of materials (CV, cover letter, dissertation abstract, teaching statement) to your advisors and the Placement Officer.
  • Give your committee copies of any new dissertation work.


  • Meet individually with the Placement Officer to discuss materials and your search.
  • The Job Information List (JIL) goes online at; login and password will be distributed. Make a list of jobs you will apply for, noting any unusual application requirements.
  • JIL is updated every Friday with new jobs, so make sure you check weekly, even into the spring semester, when jobs you may want to apply for still occasionally appear.

October 1:

  • Give latest, revised drafts of job materials to your recommenders along with Career Services recommendation form, as well as however much of the dissertation they would like to see. Ask them politely to get their letters in by the end of the month.

during October:

  • Select your writing sample(s) in consultation with your dissertation director; revise and excerpt where necessary.

October 30:

  • Verify (online) that your Career Services dossier is complete; nudge recommenders as appropriate; let Placement Officer know where things stand.


  • Most application deadlines will fall in November, but more and more are inching into October.
  • Finalize list of schools to which you will apply; give copy of this list, with application deadlines, to advisor and to Placement Officer.
  • Don't forget to keep working on the dissertation.

In November:

  • Send out additional applications and follow-up materials as requested.
  • Polish a second writing sample, or get more of dissertation into circulatable condition.


  • Attend the pre-Mock Interview meeting, which the Placement Officer will run.

early December:

  • Participate in Mock Interviews with Penn faculty.
  • Inform Placement Officer and your advisors of all interview invitations.
  • If you're not going to MLA after all, request refunds no later than December 25 (postmark date).

January 3-6:

  • MLA convention. The Placement Officer will attend the convention and let you know how to reach him there.


  • Attend the post-MLA, pre-campus visit meeting, which the Placement Officer will run.
  • Practice your "job talk," either in  a regular work-in-progress forum or in an informal gathering of fellow grad students.


  • Campus visits can happen any time during the spring, so try to be patient; the job market can move very slowly.
  • Make sure to keep your committee and the Placement Officer informed of any campus visits; confer with them before making the visit.
  • Before accepting or declining any job offer, consult with your advisors and the Placement Officer.