Your Job Talk
Preparing and presenting your most effective job talk

  • The Purpose of a Job Talk
  • An Overall List of Things to Do to Prepare for Your Job Talk
  • Preparing Step 1: Clarify Your Assignment and Who Your Audience Is
  • Preparing Step 2.1: Take Stock of Everything You’ve Done – STEM
  • Prepare Step 2.1: Taking Stock of Everything You’ve Done – Humanities
  • Preparing Step 2.2: Questions to Help You Select the Research You’ll Present in Your Job Talk
  • Preparing Step 2.3: Drafting Your Research Narrative – STEM
  • Preparing Step 2.3: Drafting Your Research Narrative – Humanities
  • Preparing Step 3: Review Your Research Narrative and Add Details
  • Preparing Steps 4&5: Putting Together Your Visual Presentation and Practicing Your Job Talk
  • Tips for the Content of Your Presentation
  • Tips for Your Visual & Oral Presentation
  • Tips for the Questions and Answer Session
  • Professionalism During Your Job Talk
  • Final Additional Tips for Your Job Talk

About this lesson

Without a doubt, the most important component in a Campus Visit is your Job Talk, and the Q&A following it. This is your chance to talk about your research, to demonstrate your expertise, and to make the case that you are a scholar whose work the department should support. What is the best way to accomplish all of this? This lesson will help you structure your presentation and help prepare you for the always-stressful Q&A.

This lesson will cover: the purpose of a job talk, and how to structure it, and how to prepare so that you can confidently speak about your research. You’ll also get guidance on navigating the Q&A and how to handle tough questions. Because your Job Talk will take place during your Campus Visit, it might be helpful for you to take our lesson on Campus Visits, Part 1: Preparation as well as to review the work you did in writing your Research Statement.

Workbook Activities

This lesson covers pages 14-17 in the Demonstrate Stage Workbook. You can also use the Take Notes widget to complete these activities.  

  1. Take a moment to reflect on your research and create an outline of how you might present your research in a job talk. First, make a list of everything you’ve done as part of your research.
  2. Then, select what you’ll present in your job talk. The video lesson offered some criteria to use to help you pick what to include in your job talk.
  3. Once you’ve made a decision, build an outline of the narrative of your job talk. When you’ve finished putting together you narrative and presentation, use the checklist in your workbook as a guideline to review your job talk.
  4. Make a plan for preparing and practicing your job talk. Once you’ve got a date for your job talk, work backwards from that date, and schedule specific practice sessions with peers and professors. Make sure you’ve set a deadline for the completion of your presentation so you are ready for your practice sessions. 

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Your Job Talk

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