Advice for Grad Students

First things first:

  1. Be proactive.
  2. Ask your friends, colleagues, and advisers for referrals. Don’t be shy.
  3. When you ask for a reference letter, make sure he/she can provide a strong one. In your communications, you can directly ask: Could you please write a very strong reference letter on behalf of me?
  4. If you are a graduating PhD candidate, it is never too late to pick up some presentation skills and overhaul your talk slides. Watch the Cornell style: http://www.cnf.cornell.edu/nnin/capes/CAPES-V4-7.html

Prepare for interview

How to handle questions with grace after your job talks:

  1. That's a great question!
  2. Thanks for the question; it is definitely an intriguing one!
  3. That's a very thought-provoking question; honestly I haven't given it much thought but I will definitely look into it and get back to you.

General interview questions:

  1. Tell us about the project that you most proud of. (This is the most frequently asked question in faculty position interviews.)
  2. Tell us about yourself and why you are particularly interested in us?
  3. Tell us about your research and your major scientific contributions?
  4. What about your short-term and long-term research plans?
  5. What personal developments have you made to help transition to an independent faculty position?
  6. What contributions you can make to the success of our program/center if you join? (e.g. what you can bring to us basically?)
  7. What types of resources do you need to perform your research?
  8. How would you collaborate with our faculty members?
  9. How do you distinguish our school and others that you may have applied?
  10. Your greatest strengths/weakness
  11. Do you have teaching experience?
  12. Any questions to us? ---- and a few other questions I forgot.