How to Prepare for a Job Talk in a STEM Discipline

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

    • Identify the committee’s expectations and evaluations of a job talk.
    • Apply strategies to ensure success in future job talks.
    • Use your research to make yourself a more attractive candidate.
    • Solicit good advice about the job talk from your mentors and academic network.

Joseph Barber, PhD is the Senior Associate Director of Career Services at University of Pennsylvania.

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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. How can you set yourself up for success through your research?
  2. How can you practice your job talk?
  3. What are the elements of the job talk?
  4. What kinds of questions will you encounter?


  1. During your PhD or postdoc, identify alumni from your department and approach them for an informational interview. Ask them how they have adapted their research throughout their faculty career.
  2. Pay attention to the hiring cycle at your institution and take the opportunity to attend job talks on campus. Consider the questions audience members pose and find out what faculty members think about the candidates’ job talks.
  3. Reflect on the common issues with job talks. Start to create strategies to avoid those issues. How will you strike a balance between too much or too little context? How will you avoid including too much information?
Have you completed this unit? Then mark this unit as completed.
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