An extremely subjective outline of the economics job market


I had promised that I’d consolidate the collected “job market wisdom” of the 2009 graduating class and present it as a set of notes for future classes. I put it off (after getting a job, one still needs to defend…) and I’ve forgotten a lot of the suggestions that other people had. So these notes largely reflect my own job market experience. I’ll try to include other people’s opinions when I can remember them. If you have comments or information that I missed, please let me know. Some people have and requested that they stay anonymous, but I’m happy to attribute the advice to you if you want credit.

Since these documents last longer than is originally intended, I should give a little bit of background information. I went to graduate school at UCSD where I studied econometrics for six years. I went on the job market in the 2008-2009 academic year and defended in July, 2009. My first job out of grad school is an Assistant Professorship in the Economics Department at Iowa State University.

— Gray Calhoun

Other job market guides


Brief time frame for job market

A basic timeline: what happens when; what you need to own or create by that date; and what you probably want in addition to the bare minimum.

mid-October through end of November

The deadlines for job applications largely fall in late October through mid November. About a quarter of the applications are due after Thanksgiving. At the miniumum, you need:

Additional material you might want beyond the minimum

You may also need to put together a few things that many, but not all, schools require. You don’t need to put much effort into these elements of your application, unless you badly want a teaching job. But many schools will consider your application incomplete if it doesn’t have these items included.

And, if you can pull it off, you’ll want these things too. (They are highly recommended):

Miscellaneous other points about this stage of the job market:

In the first two to three weeks after Thanksgiving

Schools will contact you about interviews at the meetings. This is more stressful than earlier, but not particularly busy.

First few days of January

You’ll be at the AEA meetings, have fun! The biggest thing you’ll need is to have practiced describing your job market paper and dissertation! Professional attire and comfortable shoes are also a good idea, but are much less important.

January and February

This is when flyouts and job negotiation. Here’s what you’ll need for sure:

The basic schedule of a flyout:

Other concerns during this period

Hopefully this period is busy. It is extremely stressful.


General points about the process

Here are a few things we did when I was on the job market that you might find helpful. I haven’t seen them mentioned on other job market guides.

Speculative points on networking

I didn’t do many of these things, but in retrospect wish that I had. So take it for what it’s worth.


Closing thoughts

— Gray Calhoun, 01 Aug 2009


Copyright (c) 2014–2015 Gray Calhoun. This document is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License and any source code listed in this document is also licensed under the MIT License.

Home // New comment // Forum