To help guide you in the often soul-crushing experience of looking for an academic job in the seemingly over-saturated social sciences market, the EAPL-S has decided to offer some useful tips and sobering advice to help you along the way.
This article features useful information on finding an academic job in forensic psychology, and was written by Julia Shaw. While some of the information presented in this post is specific to North American job searches, much of it is applicable wordwide.
Let us begin our new series on "Finding an academic job in forensic psychology" with a brief overview of the four most useful online resources for academic job postings.
The Psychology Job Wiki has earned the name "Heartbreak Wiki" because it is the most common source of heartbreaking news for those seeking academic careers - namely that their dream job has been taken by another candidate.
The Psychology Job Wiki is one of the most comprehensive and well-managed sites for academic job listings in psychology (you are probably best to look under the social psychology section as someone with a background in forensic psychology). It provides timely information not only about job listings, but it also allows those who have applied for positions to track the status of those jobs.
You see, the keepers of academic jobs often choose not to inform candidates of the dates when they can expect to hear back about whether they have a chance of actually getting a position. Indeed, unless you are shortlisted for a job, you will likely never hear back from the selection committee at all. Your carefully crafted job application will be sent into a seeming abyss of academic bureaucracy, never to return. This leaves you in the uncomfortable position of waiting... and waiting... and waiting.
That's where Heartbreak Wiki comes in. After waiting for what seems like forever, you will eventually see the status "review of apps begins" with a date. At least now you know when the committee plans to actually look at your application. This status may next change to "phone interviews scheduled". At this point, if you are not the one who posted the addition, you should be (rightfully) starting to get worried. Hopefulness remains though, until the heartbreaking "position filled" status appears, and the positing is crossed out on the site. At this point you will likely begin to fret about not only your competence as an academic, but your ability to ever get a job. But fear not, eventually you too will find an academic home. At least Heartbreak Wiki has given you the news when no one else would, and you can now continue on with your life and your next set of applications.
If you have exhausted the postings on Heartbreak Wiki, or simply want a different way to approach the task of looking for listings, check out the Chronicle of Higher Education's job search feature. This site provides a more exhaustive search for academic jobs, which has many merits. The merits include the ability to view listings for jobs that you may not have known to look for. While having the blinders on in your search for jobs with the word "professor" in them, you may not have thought of "assistant director" of a program, or "research analyst" as job opportunities. But here they all stand listed together, impossible to ignore. Use this site as a way to look for all kinds of job opportunities related to your field. On this site you need to again be careful of just searching for "forensic psychology" listings, as your search will leave you both limited in your results, and missing otherwise great opportunities. We recommend you start by searching for the keyword "Psychology" first. You can always refine your search later.
If you visited the Heartbreak Wiki or the Chronicle websites, you may have noticed that many of the jobs listed are not specifically for forensic psychologists. For a much shorter, but more tailored, list of jobs for forensic psychology graduates, visit the American Psychology-Law Society job listings page. Here you will find a list of academic jobs for forensic psychologists in various English-speaking countries (including the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia). While it does not have the same updating system as the Heartbreak wiki, this site is updated for basic positions relatively frequently, and provides listings that may otherwise be hard to track down. Certainly worth bookmarking if you are looking for a job in the field.
If you are keen on studying outside of North America, the above sites will likely give you some options. However, the options are much, MUCH, greater if you peruse the academic job listing sites that are most popular in the country you are interested in. While this list is far from exhaustive, here are some options for academic psychology job postings in international countries.
For more details on finding a job in specific countries, read our country-specific posts!
Also, read part 2: