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I am now applying for postdoc positions and faculty positions at teaching colleges, all through mathjobs. I have a location constraint, and so am applying to universities all within a single metropolitan area. There are many colleges and universities in this area, but not all of them have positions listed on

If a college has not listed a position, does this mean that they will not hire under any circumstances, or might they be able to hire if given the right opportunity? i.e. is it worth contacting department chairs at these colleges and inquiring? I am graduating from a top school and might perhaps be a "catch" for some of the smaller teaching colleges.

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This is really not an ideal place to ask this question. Anyway, my advice is go to wikipedia to make sure you have the complete list of all schools in the area, and then visit their website one by one to make sure. Even in a large metropolitan area, it should be doable and it's much better than missing an opportunity that you didn't know about. Do not think mathjobs is the be all end all, by the way, many places do not advertise there for various reasons. For the US, you may want to keep an eye on EIMS, the MAA website, and the Chronicle. – Thierry Zell Nov 26 '10 at 4:55
@those who've voted for Thierry's comment: do you know of a better forum for this sort of question? I think that could be very helpful to list here if there is such a forum. I wasn't aware of one and thought this question was well thought out and that the issue was important to people in this situation. – Patricia Hersh Aug 17 '12 at 15:29
This should DEFINITELY be CW... – Jon Bannon Aug 17 '12 at 16:13
3 might be the right place to ask, since this question is only vaguely connected to mathematics. – András Bátkai Aug 17 '12 at 19:12
@Jon: whether or not Jane logs in again, we can each make our own answer CW, and it appears that this does not bump the question up to the top. – Patricia Hersh Aug 17 '12 at 19:23

Jane, I don't think you hurt your chances by asking if they might have a position available. If you end up going out to one institute for an interview, call other nearby colleges and see if you could drop by and sit in on a seminar and talk with the chair if at all possible. Definitely talk with the faculty there; some of them might even have suggestions as to other facilities who may be in need of someone, soon if not at that particular time.

When you speak with the department chair's secretary/office manager, make sure to find out if there are any colloquia scheduled around the time that you would be visiting that part of the country. See if the department chair might be willing to meet with you, even if they don't have a job available there at the moment, so that you may introduce yourself as someone who is going to be part of the mathematics community in that geographic region since you'll probably land a job somewhere nearby. It never hurts to ask for advice; and if you want a job, it never hurts to let people know that you're looking. You may also learn a bit from talking with recent hires about the local mathematics community, and where spots might be opeining up nearby.

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This seems like a situation that quite a few people face, so I'm going to add an answer even though you asked this a long time ago.

If you really want to be in a particular city, I think it's a good idea to establish contacts at schools in that city, letting people know about your interest, whether or not they have advertized a job. If indeed hiring you would be a great opportunity for a particular school, then knowing about you and your interest might enable the chair to go the dean and convince the dean to authorize a hiring search. Even if this doesn't happen, they might contact you in a year or two when they are authorized to hire and encourage you to apply then.

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Not all postdoc positions are on mathjobs. I know this because this year we have three postdocs positions available but I am pretty sure they are not on mathjobs (-: (EDIT: oops, they are now, but you can not apply on mathjobs, sorry)

If you really want to go to certain places, it never hurts to contact them directly even if there is no advertisements. You really have nothing to lose, and some positions may open up later.

As for teaching colleges, I have heard that they really want people who love teaching (which makes a lot of sense), and they can tell whether you do.

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Um, actually... – Ben Webster Nov 26 '10 at 7:32
Oops, thanks Ben! That's funny, someone just posted it recently. And you still can not apply for these positions on mathjobs. – Hailong Dao Nov 26 '10 at 7:51
Interestingly, the posting at mathjobs shows that it was posted on "2010/11/16", updated on "2010/11/14" (time is not monotonically increasing there somehow?) and the application deadline is 2010/11/17, which would be either a deadline one or three days after the initial posting!!! Is that bizarre, or am I misreading it somehow? – sleepless in beantown Nov 26 '10 at 7:59
@sleepless: my guess was that someone complained about the fact that it is not on mathjobs, so it was posted. As far as I know, people can still apply. – Hailong Dao Nov 26 '10 at 8:08

As the chair of a math department at a teaching institution (and Hailing is right, we want people who love to teach, but keep in mind we also expect people to be active researchers), I would highly recommend looking everywhere for job postings. Contacting chairs individually is great too, I can't imagine anyone would mind, and you might get lucky, things come up at the last minute sometimes. I would suggest email is by far the best way to do that. Good Luck!

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A big reason not to advertise on MathJobs is that one can apply for jobs simply by clicking on a job. This produces an enormous pool of applications to swim through. It would be nice if there were some measures in place on MathJobs that would prevent such "capricious applying". (That said, for a conscientious search committee chair the large list provides many opportunities for hiring that otherwise may never have happened. I'm not suggesting making applying too much harder, only that some speedbump be put in place.)

This said, it is absolutely a good idea to send applications to all the schools you can find (respectfully inquiring about the availability of a position, and asking to be kept on file for consideration should a job become available). Often small schools are looking for certain stability criteria in an applicant, like a geographic constraint, that help promise that a "good catch" would stay even when presented with future opportunities to leave.

The prudent thing for a department to do in this market is to hold a national search for any permanent position, but if you have independently contacted the department in advance you will have a better chance of not being missed in the electronic pile 1000 MathJobs CVs.

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