USA Academic Jobs

Landing an academic job in the USA: Conferences

So you are considering an academic job in the USA… then you need to know how conferences play into landing an academic job in America. If you have read my other posts you now know that the job hiring process in the USA is a long drawn out process. It starts with your discipline’s major US conference (usually held in August). At the conference those on the search committee will meet with as many candidates as possible. Then they will go back and discuss the options with the rest of their colleagues before selecting 2, 3 or 4 for a ‘fly-out’.

The conference interview is hard… both you and the hiring committee have met with multiple people over multiple days! I have heard of candidates that have had 30+ interviews and universities that interview 50+ candidates. The great news is that you will stand out. When I interviewed we chatted about me flying to the conference (in Boston) from Australia. Being an international on the job market makes you stand out.

If you are serious about getting a position at a ‘good’ school you need to attend and interview at the conference/s in your discipline. If you can’t afford to attend a conference then I recommend a visiting position. Check out my blog on how a visiting position can help you break into the US job market.

Looking for something else? Check out my post on the timing of the US academic job market here. Or the page where I talk about how I successful landed a tenure-track position at an American university here.


  • AG

    Very informative indeed. A quick question…does the search committee inform the potential candidate that they will be attending a specific conference? Otherwise, how does the candidate know? Thanks.

    • The Travelling Professor

      Thanks for your comment AG. Yes, the conference will publish a list of all the universities that are interviewing at the conference. Additionally the university may list on the job advertisement where which conference they will be interviewing at. All the best for your job search!

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