How to Prepare for a Job Talk in a Humanities or Social Science Discipline

After watching this video, you’ll be able to:

    • Successfully prepare for a job talk in your discipline.
    • Develop an existing research project into a job talk.
    • Effectively present your research as a job talk.
    • Identify hiring committee expectations of a job talk.

Robert D. Pearson, PhD is the Director of Graduate Career Services at University of Texas at Dallas.

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Use the Take Notes widget at the bottom right of the page to answer these questions and complete the exercises for this unit.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is a job talk and what are the goals of the process?
  2. What do committees expect you to talk about and how do you adapt a research project?
  3. How do you make an effective presentation?
  4. What is the hiring committee looking for?


  1. How will you ensure your job talk meets the intended goals? Using the job talk structure described in the seminar, create an outline for your job talk and then check if it aligns with the goals by framing them as questions. For example: Is there evidence of my future research productivity? Have I suggested future directions for my research?
  2. Reflect on how your research might contribute to a department’s curriculum. What kinds of courses or seminars could be taught based on your expertise? Have you already taught courses that incorporate your research?
  3. Ask trusted mentors and colleagues in your discipline to provide feedback on your prepared job talk. Encourage them to pose questions and discuss ways to strengthen your job talk.
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