For most students, graduate study leads to a position in academia, business, or government. The placement officer assists in and coordinates job-seeking efforts. Students seeking jobs are informed of openings as the department receives requests.
A student planning to enter the job market should consult first with the major professor about the type of work and type of institution desired, and about specific institutions.
Other faculty members will provide advice and letters of recommendation. Before listing a faculty member as a reference, the student should ask permission to do so. This will permit a faculty member to indicate in advance whether he or she can write a strong letter for the student. Because of the great importance of letters of recommendation, the student should obtain those letters which best reflect the quality of his or her work, and should also make every effort to get a candid evaluation of his or her capabilities to avoid setting unrealistic goals.
The student must also be prepared to make a sustained effort. After consulting the major professor and the placement officer, the student prepares a curriculum vita. The vita is a brief, personal and professional biography of the job applicant (see the placement officer for sample CVs). Ph.D. students are strongly encouraged to have a job market paper prepared as early as possible. The student is responsible for typing, duplicating, and collating of job market materials.
Ph.D. students are strongly encouraged to attend conventions of the American Economic Association (AEA) and the Midwest Economic Association meetings. These conventions provide valuable opportunities for meeting prospective employers.
A student’s chances for obtaining employment are enhanced by a record of academic achievement, teaching experience, and demonstrated ability to undertake independent research. It is important to be able to demonstrate that one’s dissertation is well under way so that the prospective employers can assess the quality of the work. Particularly effective ways of doing this are for the student to present papers at conferences and have an article accepted for publication. The latter achievement, in particular, is a great asset in the academic job market.
The job-seeking student will usually be invited for an on-campus interview that will require a seminar presentation on his or her research. If the student has been actively participating in the departmental research seminar (ECON 798), he or she will have a clear advantage at this point. Further information on the marketplace for economics is available from the placement officer.