When to Apply
The Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (MSPRF) competition signals the start of the job application season. The annual MSPRF deadline for full proposal submission is the third Wednesday of every October. Details can be found on the NSF 14-582 Program Solicitation form. In brief:
- You need to be a U.S. citizen.
- You need to find someone at another institution to be your postdoctoral mentor. Your advisor can help you with this.
- You write a short research proposal and arrange for your host, your advisor and one other person to upload letters to Fastlane.
The reward is full support for two years or support spread out over three years with one year of teaching (usually the better option).
Where to Find Jobs
- MathJobs is the main site to use to find and apply for jobs. Some tenure track job listings have deadlines as early as November 1, but that is not a hard and fast cutoff. Schools can only begin to review applications after the deadline has passed. If you have your materials uploaded before the Thanksgiving Break you should be fine.
- Academic Jobs Online may have some listings, though not often in math.
- AMS Employment Services has a number of resources for applicants including links to MathJobs, Employment Information in the Mathematical Sciences (EIMS), and Notices of the AMS.
- The Employment Center of the AMS Annual Meeting allows applicants to schedule interviews with registered schools. Schools that emphasize teaching often use this mechanism, while schools that emphasize research use it less frequently. The AMS Annual Meeting is a great way to make contact with people from both types of schools.
What Goes in an Application
Your application consists of several parts:
- CV. A brief summary of your academic and professional achievements and experiences. Lengthy advice can be found at U. Washington Career Services page .
- Research Statement. This summarizes the work you did during graduate school and provides some indication of the direction of your future research. Very few people who read your file will be experts in what you do so you should do your best to make the early parts of the discussion accessible to a broad audience. For a more detailed description of what this may entail you should read “Preparing Your Research Statement.”
- Teaching Statement. This describes the teaching duties you performed in graduate school and should include your evaluation information which documents your performance. See the January 2015 AMS article by James Oxley on how to write a teaching statement. Additionally, The LSU Math Department has a good guideline to follow in preparing your statement, but don't feel constrained to limit yourself to only one page.
- Recommendation Letters. The norm is to have three to four letters of recommendation, including one that addresses your teaching skills and performance.
- Cover Letter. It remains customary to send a cover letter when applying for a job, even when applying online, even when you submit your application through MathJobs. It is not clear that if it is worth the effort to write a custom letter for each school, but many people do this.
Helpful Advice and Resources
- Tips for the Job Search: Applying for Academic and Postdoctoral Positions. Notices of the AMS. Oct 2006: vol. 53, no. 9, pp. 1021-1026.
- Finding Your First Doctoral Employment: General Advice. LSU Math Department online article.
- The Career Guide put out by the The University of Washington Career Center has lengthy advice on preparing resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and job search strategies as well as interview prep and tips.