Book by Sandra L. Barnes
Review by: Tara Jabbaar-Gyambrah, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Multicultural Affairs
Hilbert College

In today’s volatile job market, Sandra L. Barnes’, On the Market: Strategies for a Successful Job Search highlights some important steps to achieving one’s entrance into a tenure track position. In particular, the author draws attention to three main areas; networking, publishing, and organization. Barnes emphasizes that graduate students should begin setting goals toward establishing a foundation for a professorship position by heavily networking at conferences, publishing scholarly articles and most importantly, being organized in the way they develop their teaching and research portfolios for the job market. By beginning at the early stages of their graduate careers, students who aspire to be professors will have a good idea of what is expected from them as job candidates. In each chapter, Barnes takes the reader through a detailed step-by-step process of how to position oneself for professorship. Although Barnes’ book does not guarantee a successful job search, it does provide a solid roadmap for students who aspire to be scholars. 

On the Market: Strategies for a Successful Job Search reads easy, gives a specific timeline for graduate students in the humanities, and is an excellent “how to” resource. Not only does the author provide students with 17 elements to writing an effective cover letter, but she gives examples of each component of the application process (i.e., curriculum vitae, teaching philosophy, portfolio, etc.). Further on in the book, she outlines what it means to be an “ideal candidate” in the eyes of the search committee. In general, institutions are looking for individuals who fit academically, personally, and financially. More importantly, search committees are focused on hiring someone who is “tenureable” and has a commitment to service on-campus and in the surrounding community. 

While this is an excellent source of information for graduate students and their advisors, the book minimally touches on other areas, such as, how to effectively maintain a tenure track position once in a job, how to prepare effectively for a telephone interview, and the ways in which job candidates can modify their searches if they find that a tenure track position is not for them.  

In the end, On the Market: Strategies for a Successful Job Search should be a required tool used for advisors working with graduate students beginning their programs. It is a great resource that could also be used in conjunction with other sources to supplement areas that are broadly covered. 

On the Market: Strategies for a Successful Academic Job Search. (2007) Book by Sandra L. Barnes. Review by: Tara Jabbaar-Gyambrah. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 207 pp, $22.50. ISBN # 978-1-58826-535-7
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