Students in a college course are just as likely to have an adjunct professor instructing them as they are full-time faculty members. These roles are appearing more and more across the board as a cost-savings measure for institutional budgets, and because it’s becoming increasingly difficult to fill teaching positions at all levels.
An adjunct position gives those with degrees outside of education a chance to get in the classroom and impart their knowledge to the next generation. While it’s beneficial in that regard, is it financially worth the hours you’d work in the position of adjunct professor? Let’s take a deeper look at the job.
Salary and Hours – Do They Add Up?
Before we break down the position, we’ll preface this with the fact that education is no longer a classroom-only job in most schools. The majority of instructions have a combination of online and in-person classes to teach, and even in-person courses have a hefty online component associated with them.
A full-time instructor can expect to teach 40-50 hours at a minimum, Monday through Friday, with workloads that can range in ten-hour time blocks from 7 a.m. through 9 p.m., depending on the institution. Some schools also offer Saturday options for certain in-demand or rare courses. This is, of course, on top of the time it takes to plan curriculum, grade papers, attend meetings, and input data into the system.
As an adjunct, you wouldn’t have many of these requirements. Your workweek could consist of 40 hours, but it would likely be much less if your study focus is in non-core subjects. You may be expected to hold office hours, but those should be included in your contract, along with your pay schedule.
The problem is that this payment is per course, and it’s, on average, around $3,500. Consider that a course can run for three months, twice a week, three hours at a time. Adjuncts may teach 1-2 courses in one semester, earning $7,000 at that rate. Broken down per month, that’s around $2,300 before taxes and insurance, putting the annual salary at close to $25,000. That rate is significantly below the poverty level.
Unlike a traditional instructor, however, adjunct professors are given a weekly schedule, a set pay scale, and an educational requirement. It’s expected that the work you do is included within that period, and you don’t have to attend meetings or file detailed lesson plans in most institutional settings.
This perk is enough of a benefit for many people to happily enter the world of adjunct teaching, but there are other advantages that make up for part of the income disparity.
Other Benefits for Adjuncts
There are thousands of adjunct professors who earn a decent income by teaching multiple courses at different universities. If you can get the schedules to match up correctly, this is a great way to earn nearly full-time pay and still avoid the stresses of a full-time position.
Other benefits of adjuncts include the flexibility of setting their own schedules, which is perfect for people with other full-time jobs who are teaching on the side, or parents who want to be able to stay at home with their children as much as possible.
Adjuncts aren’t tied down to one school or subject, either. This variety helps you avoid boredom and expand your network. You get to avoid the drama and politics that are always in an office setting, too, and easily say no to outside work requests by reminding everyone that you’re not part of the faculty.
Since you’re not a full-time instructor, you don’t have the headache of publishing and grant requirements, discipline issues, or the tenure track. When you want to teach, but you don’t want to deal with the stresses that come with it, adjunct instruction is the way to go.
Add Your Adjunct Experience to Your Impactio Profile
Maybe you don’t plan on being an adjunct professor for the long-term, and that’s fine. The time you spend in the classroom honing your skills and learning new ones is impressive on your resume and your Impactio profile.
Add the contacts you meet to your Impactio network and connect with other experts in your field around the world. You never know who will be invaluable to your future as a researcher when your time as an adjunct professor is over. But what will always be there for you is the Impactio platform, ready to help you grow your career in substantial ways.
The process of applying for a job in a college or university is much different than your standard search steps. To be seen as a solid candidate for a faculty position, you must show your skills as early as your cover letter; otherwise, the Human Resources department reviewer will add your resume to the countless others they’ve deposited in the repository of unfit applicants.
The role of a cover letter is so important in academics that it’s often more stressful to write than the resume and curriculum vitae that follow it. If you can’t meet the basic qualifications for the job in your letter’s presentation, it’s assumed you won’t be able to handle the challenging job of faculty in a higher education institution. The good news is that there are five strategies that will help you master the obstacle of a cover letter and impress the current faculty members and academic deans who will be reviewing it once it passes through HR.
What’s Included in Your Cover Letter
Those who will judge your appropriateness for the position will be reading your cover letter and then checking over your resume or curriculum vitae. It’s okay and even expected, in these instances, for the cover letter to be lengthy and full of your academic and career philosophies.
5 Strategies to Write an Effective Cover
- Focus on the Qualifications – The first obstacle is to get through the HR screening, so we’ll start with the strategy to ensure that happens. Read the job posting, and write down each requirement that is included in the announcement. Make a list under those headings of the skills you have that match the requirement. These should cover your credentials, experience, knowledge, talents, awards, publications, etc. If you’re missing one or two of the preferred details, gloss over those areas without focusing on them. However, if you’re missing most of the qualifications, you might want to consider looking for other positions that you’re more qualified for.
- Expect That Your Cover Letter Will Be Scrutinized. In the business world, a cover letter is skimmed, then pushed aside for the meat of the resume. In academics, the letter is scrutinized for formatting, mistakes, mechanics, and meat. The reviewers will look at how you approach the pedagogy of education, what kind of background you have, and how those factors will fit in with the college or university’s principles. They’ll also assume that if you aren’t paying attention to the details of errors, you won’t pay attention to the details of your job.
- Make the Letter Personalized. Do your research on the institution to which you’re applying. Who are the current faculty members? What do you have to offer that isn’t already provided by them? Do you have strengths that could help make the team more cohesive? Include all of these points, as well as anything that you know will make you seem passionate and knowledgeable about the job. If the institution has had any recent projects, discuss your interest in those. If you have projects on the horizon or have had recent grants, bring those up and how they can be of benefit to the institution that hires you. Make the letter personalized where possible, and let the reviewers see you as the aspiring or growing academic you are.
- Format the cover letter correctly. Academic and business cover letters contain the same basic formatting we learn (or are supposed to learn) in undergrad school. These are no longer than two pages, as opposed to the one-page business letter, but are otherwise formatted in a similar manner: Date, Heading, Greeting, Body (single-spaced), Conclusion, Salutation.
Show Off Your Professionalism With Impactio
The fifth and final strategy is to show off your professional dedication by including your Impactio profile. Because Impactio is only used by academic experts around the world, it stands out from the rest of the applicants who will be including their LinkedIn and Twitter handles.
Impactio is America’s premier scientific networking platform. The tools the program provides researchers, and the ability to connect with global scholars, are impressive on their own. When you include your profile information on your cover letter, it shows reviewers that not only are you serious about your role as a researcher, but you have the skills and experience to back up your claims. Join Impactio today to get your profile established before your next interview.
Within every career, there is a set of standards and expectations that define it. Prospective job applicants know what to expect within those standards when they pursue a degree and apply for a position within that job definition. But even when a title is widely explained and detailed, there are still things that crop up occasionally that require the employee to adjust what they know of their job description.
This flexibility is vital to a researcher, in particular, because the field of academics is always evolving. The definition of a career academic is not predetermined before you enter the role; it fluctuates as the world’s needs change. These forced adaptations can cause stress in a person who doesn’t like change or can’t adjust to unforeseen challenges easily. If that sounds like you, the trait of career resilience is one that you will want to cultivate, or the ever-changing facets of your research career may put you on the path to burnout.
Failure is Not an Option: It’s a Growth Point for Scholars
One reason researchers have such difficulty being flexible is because they are laser-focused on keeping every variable controlled and accounted for in their projects. This is an essential trait to have in the lab, but it’s not as admirable in the actual career environment. When you’re dealing with human behavior rather than manipulatable data, it’s not as easy or as well-perceived when you try to control the outcome.
The problem is that letting go of control of an experiment can lead to “failure.” The reality is that changing your mindset to view failure as a growth point can help you improve your job as a researcher, and your skills as a coworker or employee.
How to Adjust Your Mentality to Be More Resilient
This shift in mindset comes from training your brain to be more resilient. It’s not an easy adjustment, and it will take time. It can take 20 days or longer to challenge the neural pathways that are already established in the brain, and another 20 to create and cement new habits.
To embrace career resilience and foster flexibility with change, begin with these daily habit adjustments:
● Consider yourself a life-long learner. You don’t know everything about the world and your place in it, and you don’t know everything about your industry, no matter how experienced you are. Technologies and societies change. It’s your job to stay up on those trends by always keeping on the cusp of advancements. When you recognize that you should always be learning, every obstacle is a potential lesson waiting to be unwrapped.
● Increase your professional network. By interacting with limited people, you end up with limited experiences. The more unique individuals are in your network, the better you can grow your emotional intelligence and pick up interpersonal skills. These skills will help you understand why changes are necessary when someone else needs to make them. Should you need to plan a career adjustment in the future, your network is there to make the transition easier.
● Take an active role in your career. No one is burnt out faster than a researcher who thinks everyone is controlling their actions for them. You have the ability and the right to say no, to pursue opportunities that challenge and excite you, and to build your skills and develop them at your own pace.
● Create goals and stick to them. Similar to taking that active role, you can’t move forward in the right direction purposely if you don’t have your eyes on a target. Don’t focus on things that happened in your past, whether they were good or bad. Each situation grew you as a person. Let that growth be toward your goals.
These four seemingly simple mindset changes will foster your resilience in any career you choose. As a researcher, they’re the vital seeds that must be planted before you can successfully handle everything the job throws at you.
Expand Your Career With Impactio
Tips two and three involve expanding your network and taking an active role in your career. These are both possible when you sign up to join Impactio, America’s largest scientific networking platform.
Impactio can connect you to a vast community of researchers like you. Along the way, you’ll learn what works (and what doesn’t) to keep those academic scholars resilient and flexible. When you’re ready to grow your career opportunities, start networking with the experts on Impactio.
The massive technology shift in the past decade is forcing even the most solid programs to go through a much-needed revamping. The newest one in the headlines is the GI Bill. More than 75 years old, this historic bill came in just when we needed it most, to offer benefits to veterans who came home from World War II without jobs, education, or skills.
The GI Bill provided these veterans all the education and training they needed to find employment, and it continues to do so for vets today. It also offers them low-cost home loans, takes care of unemployment payments when necessary, and handles the health care for vets. The GI Bill and its evolution have been part of higher education for millions of people over the past decades, but now it is changing.
How the GI Bill Has Helped Higher Education
Because the focus of the GI Bill is on vets who need assistance assimilating into the civilian world, it’s understandable that a large portion of the bill was geared toward higher education learning. Giving individuals the ability to return to school and continue their learning goals has resulted in hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities, tens of thousands of people removed from poverty, and a substantial return on the investment of the Real Gross Domestic Product.
Higher education has felt the effect in terms of more students, requiring larger institutions and more instructors. This return came back to the workforce and economy of the United States as new graduates left the campus and entered the working world. However, many of the policies in the GI Bill were outdated, particularly in lieu of the technological innovations in academics.
Recent Changes to Be Aware Of
Changes to the bill were necessary, but the intent was to make it easier for individuals to leverage the benefits without losing focus on the overall goal. To do this, the Digital GI Bill was established. This bill provides support to veterans with more efficient processes and higher standards of service, two areas that were admittedly lacking the previous rollout. Now, higher education personnel and veterans using the bill will notice:
● More opportunities for current service members and veterans to choose their academic career paths, and advancement of eligible family members who quality for this benefit
● Stronger, more innovative programs that encourage growth and employment in fields that are in high demand now but may not have existed 75 years ago
● Training with tools that are necessary to thrive in today’s society
● Extended benefits when training for a job in a high-demand industry, including housing stipends during attendance and job placement, up through age 67
These changes will impact higher education institutions as more veterans and current service members utilize their benefits to pursue their academic career goals. Schools will need to increase the ability to provide training for these in-demand jobs, and adjust how they are handling the diversity in age groups. This is particularly true because of the shift to encouraging new career education through age 67.
Another change is how GI Bill education benefits can be transferred. Previously, dependents and family members were defined as immediate family. Now, stepchildren and wards in the care of a service member or veteran are included as the eligible recipients of the GI Bill’s program.
Other advancements to this bill that don’t relate to education directly are also included in the changes. The overarching goal is to adjust the bill to include modernized, digitalized enhancements. Even with so many massive, complex, and exciting differences on the horizon, the bill should be rolled out in time for the education system, and students, to be usable immediately.
Networking With Veterans on Impactio
Impactio is another platform that supports and encourages military members and veterans. Whether you’re the direct member, or a researcher or funder looking to work with them, Impactio’s networking features help connect you to the right people.
In fact, Impactio is the largest scientific networking platform in the United States, and the reach of people connected to you as a member is global. When you’re ready to find grants for military members, perform research with a veteran, or connect with those entering the academic world from the military sector, Impactio has the tools to bring you together.
Salary disparities in academics have been a topic of debate for decades. Anyone entering the field of education knows that they’re going in for the passion and love of helping to shape the world and make it a better place, not for the paycheck. In fact, the average teacher makes around $40,000 per year and often needs a second job to make ends meet.
As a researcher, this median pay is bumped up somewhat to $50,000 annually, but the workload increases substantially, making it difficult to get a second job, even if you wanted to. The problem isn’t the wage, necessarily. It’s the fact that at some point, stagnation occurs. Your experience and expertise in your field aren’t always equivalent to your pay, as it is in other careers. Institutions must use the standardized levels that usually go by years of experience, with bonuses given for meeting certain qualifications.
Salary Versus Workload as a Researcher
The question of whether a researcher’s salary is commensurate with their workload must be evaluated if you’re considering this role. As a research scientist, you’ll be expected to put in your hard work and extra effort, working 8-12 hours a day in your lab and filling in with classroom teaching roles as necessary. This changes when you get tenure, which is the goal of most academic researchers. However, the field is highly competitive, so to hit that desired target, you must show that you deserve it over and above all of those around you who are also aiming for the limited tenured positions.
This means that to find the actual hourly rate that you’re receiving, you’ll need to divide your annual salary by 52 weeks in a year. Take that number and divide it by how many hours you’re putting in at the office, lab, or classroom, and you get your pay rate.
As an example, the average research salary, as mentioned, is around $50,000 per year. A typical hard-working, goal-oriented researcher will put in at least 50 hours in the workweek. Using this formula shows the hourly rate:
$50,000/52 = approx. $962 per week
$962/50 hours = approx. $19 per hour
Before you accept a career as a researcher, use this formula to ensure that the average pay and workload is something you are willing to accept, as chances are, it won’t change too much over your career due to wage stagnation.
What Wage Stagnation Means for Your Future
Wages aren’t expanding in multiple industries, but it’s a serious concern in academics, where the expected workload continues to pile up and salaries aren’t moving. For the past fifty years, researcher and teacher salaries have been sliding instead of growing, with a nearly 20% pay gap when compared to other careers requiring similar education.
This wage stagnation in the midst of spiking inflation and interest rates can be dangerous for your financial future. On the one hand, research careers are typically stable. Once you’re hired for a position, as long as the funding is available, it’s easy to keep your job if you’re competent and doing the work required of you. However, the compensation you receive is going to be similar to what the current rates are, including benefits and perks.
Researchers can aim for bonuses by publishing high-quality findings and receiving grants, with the ultimate goal of tenured positions. But the question is whether the pay and workload are “worth it” depends on you and if you believe that the potential to make a difference in the world is more important than a hefty salary.
Expanding Your Career to Increase Your Opportunities With Impactio
Ready to boost your career opportunities and scholarly reputation? Head to Impactio, America’s number one scientific networking platform.
Impactio gives you the tools you need to connect with funders and other researchers around the world. With the connections you make in your expanded network, you may be able to increase your work’s influence or land grants you wouldn’t have known about without Impactio. Join the community all the scholars are talking about and add your profile to the growing list of research experts on Impactio today.
Nobody wants to talk about the difficulties of researchers when they’re first starting out because the field is so competitive. It’s almost as though if you complain, you’re concerned you’ll be replaced by someone who can do everything you can do but without “whining.” The truth is that early-career researchers have always had a hard time getting their feet firmly on the ground, but today’s generations have it much worse.
Challenges begin as early as fellowship and continue on into the field. The paradoxical focus on teamwork while still being “every researcher for their own scholarly reputation” is a fine line to balance, and the mental health impacts can plague a person’s confidence along the way. The good news is that more and more people are speaking out, and recognizing the challenges is the first step to preventing and solving them. Here are five of the most common of these problems, and solutions to minimize them.
Almost all research depends on funding for it to be completed. Studies, lab equipment, staff, and other factors cost money. But getting funding in such a competitive field is a challenge. And even if you’re awarded a grant, you have to be cautious about the terms involved and ensure you remain in control and there are no conflicts of interest.
While there isn’t a “quick fix” for this problem, stakeholders and officials know it exists. There are ideas floating around, and one solution is to create a scientific funding program that would stabilize funds for everyone.
So much of your potential future in your career depends on your scholarly reputation. In fact, the focus on reputation has become such a central concern that many researchers feel pressured to churn out low-quality work just to be able to say they’ve had recently published work.
The current quantitative systems are mediocre at best. The good news is that there are changes in progress that turn the focus away from quantity and over to quality instead. This should give more scholars the time they need to complete well-designed, thorough, replicable research rather than feel pressured to rush their work before it’s ready.
Along the same lines as rushed work due to scholarly reputation is the challenge of poor design in other studies. As a researcher, you rely on previously published work to base some of your data, trusting that the other scientists completed their studies as thoroughly as you did. When their work is questioned later, everything you built yours off of is now potentially less credible, as well.
Because of the pressure to release important, impactful studies, some scholars attempt to control the results of their work through bias or adjusting factors. It sounds minor at the moment, but the consequences can be damaging. Taking the pressure off of researchers to complete ground-breaking work will solve this issue, as well.
Peer Review Issues
Peer review has been part of the academic publishing system for decades, but it’s not working quite as well today. There’s a consistent problem with peer reviewers’ inability to catch fraud or things like experiments that can’t be replicated.
Researchers aren’t given any incentive to complete peer reviews, and these take away from their valuable time. By changing this system and rewarding reviewers to complete thorough, well-documented analyses, many of these problems can be avoided.
Finally, there’s the challenge of publishing for early career researchers. Journals want to work with scholars who already have a strong academic reputation. To get past the initial editor’s desk, a new scientist has to have something impactful.
Open source publishing has reduced this problem, but it’s not solved yet. Until the issues of scholarly reputation, peer review, and funding are addressed, publishing will continue to be a brick wall for many beginning researchers.
How Impactio Can Help Solve These Challenges
As a new researcher, are you ready for your scholarly reputation to grow? Set up a profile on Impactio, and connect with thousands of other experts in the field. As you build your network, your reputation will increase.
Looking for new funding? Impactio is the place to go for that, as well. Funders and stakeholders head to the platform to look for projects to invest in, and if you have research in mind, someone may back you when they see your information and professional reputation on Impactio.
When you’re serious about improving your scientific career, start by building a presence on Impactio.
From early in our lives, we’re encouraged to join teams and clubs, learn the benefits of teamwork, and how there is no “I” in “team.” This principle doesn’t change when we get into higher education; it simply turns into organizations and society memberships instead.
Professional organizations come with a network of other members and regular meetings to engage in networking discussions and information assimilation. Academic scholars are strongly encouraged to join these organizations, as it’s a regular part of scholarly life. Members are invited to conferences in locations around the world, where they can meet people with similar interests and skills. But not everyone sees the benefits of joining an organization when they’re a career academic, especially since each membership comes with a price tag. Consider these advantages to keeping at least one society membership after you graduate.
Advantages of Society Memberships in Your Career
You’ve already built a good network of colleagues, mentors, and previous professors by the time you graduate. So why would you need to continue joining an organization when you have your own “members” in your life? Here are some excellent reasons why the annual membership dues more than pay for themselves:
● You get access to select resources. Many professional organizations choose journals and other publications to sponsor. You get access to these resources at free or reduced costs, and some of them aren’t available outside of the organization. Other resources include the ability to post your member profile on the website in a database available to reporters and researchers who are looking for experts, or those interested in hiring someone with particular expertise. If the organization you’ve joined is relevant to your industry, these publications come in handy as a method of keeping you up-to-date on the latest changes in your field.
● You may learn new information or get new ideas. Even the brightest minds in academic fields remind us that as soon as we think we know it all, that’s when we don’t. No matter how long you’ve been in your field, there will always be something new to learn. Science never stops evolving. Joining with others in your professional organization could be a way to learn new things, get new ideas for your research, and get ahead of the trends in the field coming down the pipeline.
● You’ll get to expand your network. No matter how many people are currently in your network, there’s always room for more. Networking is about the quality of the individuals you meet, not the quantity. Someone in your organization could have exactly what you need to change the career trajectory of your future, or you could connect them to someone you care about whom you know was looking for what that person was able to offer.
● You may be eligible for awards. If you’re not ready to retire yet, it’s still important to be on the lookout for grants, scholarships, fellowships, and awards. You can advance your career with these types of funding and use the fact that you obtained them to enhance your CV. Winners of the awards are posted in the organization’s publications, so your name gets out to the network as an expert in your field, thus increasing your citation counts. It’s a winning situation all around, but one you can only access if you’re part of the organization.
● You get leadership opportunities. So you’re already one of the top minds in your field. Why not share your knowledge with others who are just starting out? As a member of an organization, you’ll be asked to showcase your ideas and skills as a leader, mentoring others within the society.
Between all of these benefits and the extended advantages that each one provides, it’s easy to see how being part of academic societies is a wise career move.
Impactio: The One Network You Shouldn’t Skip
Not sure where to start when it comes to choosing a professional organization to join? You already have social media profiles, now it’s time to build an academic profile on Impactio’s platform.
Impactio is the one network every academic researcher should join. Members receive access to a network of like-minded professionals around the world, as well as tools to monitor research publications and the resultant analytics. With Impactio, the benefits of membership can propel your career to another level.
As a researcher, you’ve been behind the desk in more classes than you’d probably like to count. Think back to your favorite teachers. What was it about them that made you enjoy their courses over all your other instructors?
Part of your presentation will be oral because that’s the expected modality, but that doesn’t have to be the only method you use. To connect with more of your audience and enhance your presentation, you should include visual aids strategically throughout your time in the spotlight.
Using Visual Aids in Your Presentation
Visual aids are a good way to engage your audience and make your presentation more interactive. However, you need to integrate them cautiously. If you don’t, they can be a distraction instead of an attraction.
Consider a PowerPoint presenter who prints out a copy of their entire presentation. Are you, as an audience member, focused on what they’re saying, or are you skimming through the notes and only paying attention when they get to the slides you’re interested in? Are you counting the slides and checking the clock to see exactly how much longer they’re going to talk about Slide 46 when there are 238 slides in the handout?
You know we’ve all been there and done that. You don’t want to be “that” presenter. You can still use slides as handouts but only print the main points, with visuals that will help the audience understand complex ideas better.
Only use visual aids that are integral to garnering interest and increasing comprehension. If they’re there because there’s a cute emoji that matches the word, you’re losing attention. You should note, though, that in the right settings, a visual aid can be used to extract emotion from your audience. A well-placed, appropriate joke can bring your audience back to the moment, or a picture that evokes sympathy can make your point when you’re talking about the dangers of the topic and why your research is important.
Types of Visual Aids
If you’re confident in your artistic ability and handwriting, you can stick with a simple whiteboard and dry erase marker. These visual aids make it easy to write something important down while you’re in the moment, cementing the impact of its meaning to your audience.
But if you prefer to plan ahead, technology can be your greatest visual aid tool. PowerPoint presentations are commonplace in the academic setting. It’s easy to create slides that showcase your main ideas. You can bring in graphs from other programs, like Impactio, that demonstrate the research and statistics you’re discussing and make them easier for the audience to digest.
Prezi is another tech tool that works similarly to PowerPoint. Prezi is an online, internet-based way to create slides that are more interactive than the typical PowerPoint. If your aim is to impress your audience with your tech skills, or you’re presenting to a more tech-advanced crowd, consider learning Prezi. Keep in mind that you’ll need the internet, or you’ll have to download your presentation in advance.
Regardless of which tools you prepare as visual aids, you need to keep them simple. Do not use them as cue cards that you read word-for-word. This will bore the audience and make you look unprofessional. Limit the slides to 3-5 bullet points with summaries of the topic you’re discussing, and avoid the extra visual-aid enhancements, like “bouncing in” your text.
You can also use video and audio files (these can be embedded in your Prezi or PowerPoint), or stick with the old-fashioned flip chart and worksheet-style handouts. If you have models that make your point clearly, they’re a great way to elicit interest from the audience.
Grab Your Research Data From Impactio’s Tools
Looking for an impactful way to bring your data into your presentation? Impactio has the tools you need to demonstrate your research citation metrics. Analyze your research by tracking citation counts, h-index, and journal impact factors, then share the quantitative proof of your work with your audience. Use the visual data in your PowerPoint or handout, then head back to Impactio after your presentation is over and add the conference to your academic profile!
When you write your research paper, who are you writing it for? In school, this was easy. You were most likely gearing your work toward the person who would judge it as acceptable or not, otherwise known as your instructor. But when you’re no longer a student, the concept of “audience” becomes less clearly defined.
As part of your career growth, your aim should be to reach as large of an audience as possible while still focusing primarily on one main sector. So, you want to go “broad” without going too broad. As you get comfortable with writing for an audience and completing manuscript work for publication, this will become easier. To get you started, here is some information on audiences to help you understand your own work better.
Types of Researcher Audiences
The idea of an audience is the crowd who will be reading, observing, hearing, or otherwise receiving your work. Typically, this is the person or people who will read your research paper and/or hear your oral presentation. As your audience varies, so should your style and tone, as well as other facets of your work.
Your instructor or stakeholder is one part of your audience, but not the sole or even the main part. Who will benefit from your work? That’s who you should be trying to reach. It could include other pre-grad students, other researchers in the field, the general public, or a government body, just to name a few.
Defining your audience before you begin writing will help you determine the level that your work should be at. It’s the same concept as writers use when they begin a novel or a script for a potential movie. They determine who their target audience is, what the average person in that audience knows, and what their needs are, and they write their content appropriately with those answers in mind. It’s where the “Young Adult” and other book genres come from, and how the film ratings are determined.
In your case, you need to determine the knowledge and reading levels of your audience, then adjust your writing to match those levels.
How to Choose an Impactful Audience Base
However, if you are in the fledgling stages of your project, it can be hard to discern the proper target audience to aim for. Some ideas are inherently geared toward higher-level learning, such as the origins of infectious disease and the results of protein in nutritional immunology. On the other hand, some ideas are more ambiguous, and the audience depends on the details of the research project. Should you want to study music therapy, your audience could range from the parents of autistic children who want to learn how music can help their child to scientists researching how the brain responds to different tones and pitches.
Choosing your audience base is, therefore, integrally tied to your topic. In order to decide the most impactful audience, ask yourself these questions:
● What is my research question?
● If the solution to my questions falls in line with my hypothesis, who would be most interested in the answers to that question?
● What will I be adding to the academic community or general public with that solution?
● Why would a particular audience be interested in the topic?
● How can I adjust the topic to expand the audience slightly further?
● What will be some of the objections or obstacles I can expect to have to overcome with this topic and this audience?
● How can I overcome those objections and obstacles in my paper?
With those questions carefully pondered and answered, you should be able to figure out who your audience is, and how you can write your research paper to reach them as widely as possible.
Using Impactio to Determine the Reach of an Audience
Your work is not done after you publish your paper, but now the fun can begin! The next step is to monitor your manuscript’s impact, and you can do that with Impactio’s academic analysis tools.
Impactio is the number one platform in America for analytics for good reason. The tools you’ll receive for free with your membership include everything you need to see your citation count, h-index, and other indicators of your work’s success. Use that data to determine if you met your audience reach and impact or not, and then adjust your next work accordingly. Take your understanding of your audience to the next level by using Impactio to guide your writing.
When you think of an interview, what do you envision? Most people imagine a formal setting with one or more “judges” asking questions, and a job seeker trying to come up with the “right” answers to impress the interviewers. But sometimes, interviews are much less formal, and they can put you ahead of the game if you know how to handle them.
In the case of informational interviews, you’re in the driver’s seat instead of the hot seat. You have a potential plan for your future career, and you want to collect all the data possible before you make a decision on which way to go. So, you find someone who is already doing what you’re contemplating, and you ask them pointed questions and analyze the answers to formulate your final conclusion. You’re a researcher. It’s what you do. As with any “experiment,” though, there are some steps you should follow to ensure it’s done as accurately as possible.
The Steps of an Informational Interview
Preparing for an informal interview takes a few simple steps. The most important one is the first one, where you decide what your potential career options are, and narrow them down to your top two or three choices.
Then, it’s time to figure out who you can contact in those career fields (or at those companies/universities) to get some inside information. You may have your own close contacts or someone you know who knows someone (professors, previous employers, family members, friends, etc.) Otherwise, check with your alumni organization for suggestions.
Before you reach out to anyone, prepare a list of open-ended questions you’d like the answers to. What are the vital aspects of your career that will make or break whether you work somewhere? These could be things like the atmosphere, administrative support, perks, etc. Once you have your list, initiate contact with the people you’d like to interview, and let them know clearly what your goal is.
As long as you’re professional and respectful of their time, most people are happy to provide you with an informal interview. Before the interview, dress as you would for an important meeting. You don’t need to go all out, but you shouldn’t wear jeans and a t-shirt.
Feel free to take notes, but don’t let your note-taking distract you from what the person is saying. If you’d rather record the conversation so you can give them your full attention, be sure to ask permission first. The majority of people will say okay, but it’s extremely rude to record a conversation without the other party’s approval, and if you’re caught, it can damage the relationship.
Let the other person know you won’t take up much of their time, and stick to the agreed-upon time limit. If you are concerned time might get away with you, set your phone timer for five minutes past the limit to give it the opportunity to end naturally. Don’t leave without asking if you can contact them again in the future with any more questions.
Questions to Ask in Your Interview
Stuck on coming up with questions that will give you the answers you need? Here are a few surefire winners:
● How did your career path lead you to work at _______?
● What does a typical day in your job as a _______ look like?
● What types of skills should a person in your role have to be successful?
● Do you have any tips that would help a job candidate successfully acquire a position at ___?
● Is there anyone else there that you’d recommend I connect with if I choose to pursue a job there?
These questions will take you quickly through the person’s history, show your interest in what they have to say, and leave them enough room to give you any inside scoops they want to share.
How Impactio Can Help You Ace Your Interview
When you’re on the search for your next career move, Impactio can help. America’s number one platform for scientific networking, Impactio will connect you with experts in the academic field you’re thinking about moving to. Scholars who are interested in building teams or finding others to network with can reach out to you, and you can track down individuals for informal interviews.
Everything you need to develop and build a successful career as an academic researcher is available at Impactio. The only thing missing is you!