Two posts back I asked a very important question:
What can be done to prove that an adjunct will be an asset rather than a liability?
Now, I am speaking as an adjunct, not as a full-timer who has been an adjunct. Â But there are some ideas that have been told to me (by hiring committees) that I think are reliable.
Get involved on campus.
Do some of the things that full-timers do, even if you are doing it for free. But only some. Don’t go overboard. Â They aren’t paying you. Â So pick something you really will enjoy and do that.
I don’t think this will necessarily get you a full-time position where you adjunct. Â But it shows other schools that you are a team player.
Apply to conferences.
You won’t get these if you don’t ask. In the last seven months I have gotten ten conference presentations accepted. Only one of those acceptances is at a national conference, but I am working on those. I’ve been turned down for five (two national), I think.
You definitely have to get out there. It’s work. I’m thinking of it as part of my job. It helps that I like to write and I like to tell people what I know.
I have a twenty-page document titled “CFPs I could do.” It’s where I put calls for papers when I see them and then I go through and look at them. I prioritize based on
- importance of conference
- ease of presentation
If the conference is a large one, I apply. Â Period. Â If it is an easy one, I apply. Â The caveat there is I don’t want to be gone from school more than three days in a semester. Â So this semester I have five conferences, but one is online and one is only on a Saturday.
I am scouting voraciously for conferences in the summer, when I am not working.
Apply for publications.
I have three publications in the same seven-month time period. Two are forthcoming, but one is already out. And I have a fourth accepted; now I have to write it. I have also applied to write two more.
I have a forty-page document on my computer titled “CFPs Journals.” They are only those I can do and they are listed in order of date and/or my preferences for working on them.
I have spent a great deal of thought deciding which ones I am most likely to be accepted for and which ones are most important to the career trajectory I am shooting for.
The caveat there is that most of my writing is on literature. Â All three of the publications to date are literature. Â The one acceptance is actually in history (which is a sub-field of interest). Â The two I have applied to write are those that are books. Â I think having a chapter in a book is a plus. Â I have also applied to write an entire book.
Writing books: Â I decided not to apply to write a book where the publisher wanted me to do market research. Â I didn’t have enough time or interest in the topic to do that. Â I did send a query, so if they are desperate they will contact me again.
I did apply for Â a book that will be a lot of work. Â I am not afraid of work. Â But it is work that I am personally interested in anyway. Â So that will help a lot. Â It’s also (sort of) in my literature field. [My literature field is Old and Middle English. Â However, that works out to Brit Lit to 1750. Â This is within this.]
Apply for jobs.
It is very frustrating to apply over and over and not be hired. Â But the only way to get hired is to apply.
I just applied for a job at a school I applied to last year. Â Last year I had an interview. Â I still want to work there, so I applied again. Â I tweaked my cover letter, redid my cv and my philosophy of education, and went back over problems and positives with the interview. Â They are hiring for the kind of work I already do. Â I have good student evaluations. Â I work hard. Â So, hopefully, they will look at me again and this time I can convince them to hire me.
But even if they don’t, at least I have tried.