+8 votes
asked ago in Job Market - JOE by (290 points)
I am looking for tips to get my foot in the door with an employer. I plan on attending ASSA 2019 already, but would like to stand out before that point. Has anyone had any interesting interactions that led to success on the JOE platform?

6 Answers

+5 votes
answered ago by (6.9k points)
selected ago by
Best answer
Talk to your advisors!  There's no telling, they may have good advice... Make sure your (other) letter writers know what you have accomplished.

When preparing your job market paper, it will help if your abstract and intro make it easy to start to understand what you have done: junior recruiting committees have to look at lots of papers before deciding which papers and candidates to concentrate on.

Prepare for your interview. Starting now, seek out opportunities to talk about your job market paper. (Offer to listen to your friends' elevator pitches, and engage them in discussions about their work, and let them do the same for you.)  Talk to your advisors about how to present your work. Practice. Also practice with non-economists: your significant other, your grandma, uber drivers...that may help you figure out how to explain the importance of your work, and not just the content.

Interviews will often begin with the invitation "Tell us about your job market paper," and so you should be prepared to talk without interruption for different intervals: 1 minute, 5, 10, and then be prepared to answer questions.  Because they may go to questions at any time, make your first sentences count. Rehearse them.

 Be confident: you know more about your work than they do. And be respectful: they know a lot too.

When you are at an interview, remember that someone on the junior recruiting committee already is rooting for you; that's why you got the interview. Now you have to help them convince their colleagues to invite you to a flyout.  So be prepared to talk about more than just your jmp: it's their interview, and they may have questions for which they need answers before they can take the next step. So listen carefully to their questions, and try to give real answers, and not just steer the conversation back to the points you were prepared to make.

With any luck, interviewing will be fun. It's a chance to meet people who really want to hear about your work. (When you arrive as a new hire, they may be more interested in telling you about their work:)
commented ago by (6.9k points)
Some other resources for advice: read John Cawley's excellent guide to the job market, linked from the JOE page, at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=869

Talk to recent graduates of your program about their experiences on the job market--their advice may be more relevant for you than generic advice.

And if you're short of advice, someone just pointed out to me an apparently new, anonymous blog called http://economicsjobmarketadvice.blogspot.com/  . It's anonymous, which is odd, but the first four or five posts seem to be written by a sensible adult who has experienced parts of the market that are different from where most Ph.D.s are graduating from, but are where many Ph.D.s are hired, so you might find it helpful.  

Use your judgment about any source of advice, and if something seems odd to you, get a second opinion.
+6 votes
answered ago by (270 points)
A solid resume, reliable references, and a well-rounded JOE profile will do wonders for you. No "special" tricks required.
commented ago by (530 points)
Hear! Hear! The only correct response!
commented ago by (290 points)
Couldnt agree more
+2 votes
answered ago by (330 points)
Your references are worth a lot. Be mindful who you put as a reference and make sure she/he is relevant.
+1 vote
answered ago by (160 points)
You can and should use the AEA's signaling mechanism to signal two employers.  This will open in mid-Nov.  See here: https://www.aeaweb.org/joe/signal/
commented ago by (3.3k points)
The usefulness of the signal is debatable.
commented ago by (3.5k points)
The signal is valuable, since it is a scarce resource. (That doesn't mean it is very valuable.) The cost is zero. You should certainly use it.
+2 votes
answered ago by (220 points)
Write a cover letter specific to that employer.
commented ago by (2.2k points)
Some employers really want to find you, too, so talk in the cover letter about what you bring to a position that is interesting, unique, specific, or relevant to the institution.
+2 votes
answered ago by (3.3k points)
edited ago by
Talk with your advisors and they can help signal in addition to the AEA signals.  Their signal has to be real.  Meaning early (not halfway through December where I have been spammed by 15 people I don't know begging me to interview their student who doesn't have any interviews), and limited to only a couple of schools, with information on they are in special set.  

Don't discount custom cover letters for a couple places.  I never read them, but there are 3 people in my department who do and will take information out of it, and talk about it.  You can't do a custom letter for 150 job applications (at least I couldn't) but doing it for 10 jobs you'd love is probably reasonable.

Be reasonable when you target schools.  The love would have to be two way.  Think about why are you a perfect fit for their job/department, not just why is their city a good fit for your non academic life. The information nudges about non market stuff can help on the margins, but frankly it only matters a ton if the location is one most other people would actually want to avoid.  Like suppose your dream job is in Antarctica, then your signalling about loving penguins is great.  But if its Santa Barbara, there's a ton of people that will send their AEA signal there.  Its of its most use when you're somebody the department would typically see as "not gettable"