Unofficial Advice for PhD Students > Job Market

Time Line for the American Economic Association Market

Here's a quick summary of how the AEA market works. If you're looking for an academic job, you'll need to go through this process. Also, lot of nonacademic employers, ranging from government agencies to consulting firms, do their PhD-level hiring about the same way and on the same schedule.
  1. During the summer before you plan to be on the market you should polish up your "job market paper", a portion of your dissertation that you plan to send out to potential employers.
  2. In the early fall, prepare your curriculum vitae (CV) and a brief cover letter to go with your application packet. Give them to Laura in the department office. Your packet will eventually consist of your CV, cover letter, job market paper, additional papers (if any), and letters of reference.
  3. Also in the early fall, arrange for letters of recommendation. Have your references give their letters to Laura, who will keep them on file and send them out for you later.
  4. At the beginning of September and again at the beginning of October look through Job Openings for Economists to put together a list of suitable openings. The October issue is the main one and has most of the listings.
  5. When your job market paper is polished up, give a copy to Laura. If you have additional papers, you can give her others to include in your packet as well.
  6. When your packet is complete, give Laura a list of employers where it should be sent. Be sure to include contact information.
  7. Register for the ASSA meetings and also consider signing up for the on-site placement service. The on-site service is a sort of spot market used by smaller employers who for one reason or another don't set up interviews in advance.
  8. In November, and usually pretty late in the month, employers who are interested in you will contact you to set up an interview at the January AEA meetings.
  9. Interviews at the meetings usually last 30 to 45 minutes and the principle question you'll be asked is "Tell us about your dissertation". To help get you warmed up, the department organizes practice interviews prior to the meetings.
  10. If an employer is impressed with you in the interview, you'll be invited out to present a seminar on your research. The invitation generally does not come during the interview; the hiring committee will have to finish interviewing other candidates and then discuss who to invite. Your visit will probably be set up for late January or some time in February.
  11. If everything goes well, you'll get a job offer shortly after your visit. It may take a week or two if the employer has other candidates visiting after you.
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Peter J Wilcoxen, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Revised 09/20/2007