Monday, November 06, 2006

How to market yourself, dinner with faculty, and applications

Online application with CV uploaded for Columbia Business School. But you still need to send CV and job market paper (JMP) by post.

Torsten stops by. Invite him to my mock job talk next Monday. He gives me a positive answer.

Talk to Tim. His advice includes:

1. Do not drop the measurement of democracy part. The literature is moving in that direction though many have not noticed it. If I drop it, my paper is a public health paper, which few economists have interest in. I need to interest anyone interested in political economy.

2. Begin with Africa is not a good idea. It narrows down the scope of the paper too much. I don't want to sell myself as an Africa expert, do I? Begin with the question of whether democracy improves the quality of government, policy-making, and the lives of people. Previous studies exploit country-level data with democracy scores. My contribution is two fold. Using micro data. Measuring democracy in a precise way.

3. Political economy of development is a niche in the market of economists. Development people need someone in this field. Political economy people want to have someone familiar with development. But sell myself as a development economist interested in political economy, not the other way around. Economics departments like to hire development economists while many think of political economy as luxury.

4. Leave the latest version of the paper into Tim's mail box in Sticerd by Monday morning. He will read it and attend my mock job talk and give me feedbacks.

5. When the paper is finalized, ready for circulation, send it to Tim with two lists of schools I apply. One list includes schools with openings in development (and in political economy, if any). The other includes schools with any field. Based on these lists, he will email his friends in schools listed to recommend me.

6. Change the title of my job market paper. "Mother fixed effects" sound too nerdy. It takes time for the reader to think what that means. "Evidence from Micro Data" is better as it provokes interest. People will be like "How do you do that?"

Following his advice, revise my paper, rewriting the abstract and changing the title of the paper accordingly.

Post 25 application packets via LSE Post Room. The department will pay the postage. Realize that my cover letter includes the title of my paper, which is no longer accurate. Let's forget it.

Send application packets via email to University of Arizona and University College of Dublin. Fill the online application form and email CV and the paper to University of New South Wales.

Receive email from Simon Fraser University, saying that they receive my online application.

Receive email from Arizona, asking to complete application by clicking the link provided, which requires login.

Finish online application for University of Toronto, uploading CV and JMP. The final screen says that I can update my CV and JMP by clicking the link emailed shortly. I wanted to know this beforehand...

Dinner with today's seminar speaker (see 3 November), my supervisor, Oriana, Raja, and Daniel. I can't talk anything as the topics of conversation are the salary of economics professors, episodes of data manipulation by scientists, the weirdness of Oxbridge... But talking to Raja is productive. I ask him what the job market for him was like. "Not everyone is nice." "People ask the same question. The challenge is how you motivate yourself in giving the same answers many times." He shows an interest in my second paper. I manage to tell him about a couple of case studies by political scientists for his theoretical work.

After dinner, come back to my desk in Sticerd. Oriana tells me, "The first time at dinner with economists is always like that. You don't know what to talk. In five year's time, you will get used to it. Don't feel bad."

Online application for Caltech requires not only uploading CV and JMP but also a letter of application describing my current research in the PDF copy. Once I'm ready for that, fill in online application form, finding out that I need to describe my research interest in 50 words. After a glass of wine, I can't think hard about this. Let's do this tomorrow.

Email some LSE faculty members to invite them to my mock job talk next Monday. Let's see how it goes. They should have learned something about me as the faculty meeting on job market candidates was held at the end of last month. If my supervisor and/or Tim pushes me well at the meeting, they would be interested in coming to my talk. Fingers crossed.

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