As you enter the academic job market, the first step is to be sure the path is correct for you. Visit the Career Planning pages to be sure you have completed a self-assessment and sufficiently explored the academic career path. If the academic path is for you, then the second step is the acceptance of three realities:
One. The market is highly competitive.
To compete, you must convey your fit for the position. To convey your fit, you must know not only for what you are looking, but also how those criteria align with the positions to which you apply. If you can communicate your fit clearly and effectively, you will be more likely to receive interview offers.
Two. Each round of the application process is typically one year.
The majority of tenure-track faculty searches begin in late summer, with the expectation that the final candidate will start the next summer. Of course, exceptions to this rule exist, as academic institutions may conduct a faculty search at any point during the calendar year. With such a long application process, your preparations should begin more than a year in advance of your prospective start date.
Three. You may be on the market for multiple rounds.
The academic job market is a numbers game. Not only do individual applicants send applications to many positions, there are many highly qualified candidates for a limited number of positions. Whether or not you receive offers, it may take multiple rounds of applications to find the faculty position for which you are well-suited.
If you can accept these realities, you are ready to begin your faculty job search.