Friends, beware of former academics peddling CV, job application, and career advice if what you’re looking for is a career in academia. They charge you money to do what your peers and colleagues are happy to do for free. I’m not going to name any names or provide any links–you know who I’m talking about.
I don’t get their business model. Maybe it’s unfair of me, but I always wonder about the value of advice from people who have left academia. If they’re so savvy, why did they leave? The people who know what’s going on in academic hiring are the people working in academia now. Because most of us believe we have an obligation to help our colleagues succeed too, we’re happy to help out. Trust us, not the people who are likely to have been trained outside of your discipline who will charge you for advice or editing that may work against your interests.
I know whereof I write here. I’ve never paid for advice, but I’ve had friends who have thrown good money away to be told by someone outside their field to write their CVs and job application letters to conform to another discipline’s standards. No one I have met who has worked with one of these freelance academic advisers speaks highly of the advice they’ve paid for. It always seems aimed at someone else, or it’s so generic as to be worthless.
I’ve been the recipient of loads of free advice throughout my career–some of it great, some of it less worthwhile, but as most of us find out, when you talk to a number of people and get a bunch of different viewpoints, you find the advice you need that will work for you and your style and your goals. And because I’ve had such great senior and peer mentors, I’m happy to share what I’ve learned.
If any of you grad students or early career scholars would like to see blog posts here on a topic we haven’t covered, let me know. If you search the blog archives, you will probably find a lot of older blog posts (going back to 2008) that might address your questions, but if you have any questions, send ’em on in either here in the comments, or via email.