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4: The Job Market

Support to develop your presentation skills

When your research is nearly complete, you will want to seek employment via the University’s Careers Service. One employment route – becoming an academic – is rather specialised in its structures, with most recruitment now taking place via the annual job market meetings held in January each year. Once you submit your thesis, (for most students at the end of September), you will then turn your attention to finalising your job market paper and preparing yourself to present this. The first requirement for a successful job market candidate is a good job market paper. The next most important thing is your presentation. It takes time to learn to be a good presenter - so start early.

The following sources of help are available:

  • English Language Skills: The Centre for Applied Linguistics (CAL) offers in-sessional English language programmes in speaking and listening; pronunciation and writing.

  • A three-day Academic Presentations workshop offered by the Careers and Skills Office in the autumn term. Strongly recommended for all research students.

  • The Careers and Skills Office’s Research Student Skills Programme offers a variety of other courses and workshops as well, e.g. “Academic Writing”, “How to Be an Effective Researcher”, “Working with your Supervisor”.

Orient yourself on the job market early. It is a good idea to read at least one of the following guides at least a year beforehand:

European job market

In recent years the Royal Economic Society has organised a European PhD job market in late January, where students present papers and attend interviews. That meeting has been very successful and will be continued and perhaps expanded. The Spanish Economic Association also organises a job market, the Simposio de Análisis, which this year is being held in December. Students who wish to participate must submit a paper, and not all papers can be accommodated. This is an excellent opportunity to obtain exposure for your work, and submission is highly recommended.

Positions are also periodically advertised through the web pages.

US job market

You may want to attend the annual meeting of the American Economic Association (AEA). The AEA holds its meeting jointly with the North American Econometric Association and many other social-science organisations, which are known as the Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA). These meetings, which take place in the first week in January (check the AEA web page for exact dates), are not just for candidates who want a job in the US. In fact, most of the better universities, non-profit organisations, consulting agencies and government research departments from around the world recruit at the ASSA meetings. Furthermore, in addition to being a job market, the ASSA meetings offer you an opportunity to attend talks given by many well-known economists and to meet other students who are in a similar situation. Although many UK universities recruit at the ASSA meetings, the UK job market is less formally organised, and it is sometimes possible to obtain interviews well after the US market has cleared. The Department will require you to attend in your final year, subject to producing a satisfactory paper, presentation and CV and where necessary will provide you with financial support .

There is much less of a season for non-academic jobs, but advertisements typically appear in the spring. Job openings are advertised in the Economist, the Guardian, and the THES (Times Higher Education Supplement). There are many web pages that list job openings. These include:

It is a good idea to check these sites on a regular basis. No matter how you plan to search, you should first check with your advisors to make sure that they agree that you are ready to test the water. After you have done this, you should ask three faculty members who are familiar with your work if they would be willing to write letters of reference for you. Since those letters are confidential, you must supply your referees with the names of all of the places where you plan to apply so that they can mail their letters under separate cover. Several weeks after you have done this, you might check to see if your letters have been received and (tactfully) remind your referees if they have not. You should also tell your referees to send a PDF or Word file with their letters to Natalie Deven (Postgraduate Coordinator-Research).


You will need to have a polished job-market paper ready in the late autumn (November) for mailing to the organisations to which you are applying. However, you should have a completed version ready well ahead of that date so that you can circulate it to faculty members and fellow students for comments. Do not expect people to read your paper as soon as they receive it, since most people have many other things to do. Moreover, you will need time to make revisions based on the comments that you receive. This means that a polished draft of your paper should be ready in September. In November, packets of material should be mailed to each organisation to which you have chosen to apply. Those packets must include a covering letter, your CV, your job-market paper and the names and addresses of the people who are writing your letters of reference.

You should ensure you present your paper in the Departmental workshop that you are enrolled in. Be sure to get in touch with the organiser of that workshop at the beginning of the first term to schedule a presentation, preferably in term one. It is useful for your presentation to occur before you have any interviews or job talks.

If you want to obtain interviews, it is important to have a telephone number where you can be reached. This can be either a mobile phone that you always carry or a telephone that is capable of recording messages. The Department will schedule mock interviews at the end of the first term for those students who are interested. This is a valuable experience, since it gives you an idea of what to expect in a real interview. You should have prepared a speech of not more than fifteen minutes that describes your research. However, be prepared to respond to questions before you finish your presentation and to change that presentation if your interviewers seem to be interested in questions that you did not anticipate. Furthermore, you should think of things that you can say in the eventuality that you are not asked questions. It is also important to think of the questions that you would like to ask your interviewers. It is good to ask about such things as research and computing facilities, teaching loads, and seminar series, but inappropriate to ask about salary in a preliminary interview.

Departmental support

There will also be regular opportunities for students to present their work in the Job Market meetings held in autumn and summer term. These meetings are not just for job market candidates but also for students in third or fourth year PhD, to gain valuable experience and feedback in preparation for the job market.

The Department also maintains a web page for job-market candidates. It is important that you participate in this process if going to an academic job market, since the web page is the principal vehicle that the Department uses to promote its candidates. If your name does not appear, people who are searching for recruits will have no way of knowing that you are on the market. Your web page should include your CV, abstracts of all of your dissertation papers, and at least one completed paper — your job-market paper. For further information please contact Professor Dan Bernhardt, Job Market Placement Officer ( or Natalie Deven (