Careers: Create a website

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Although I've said it before, I believe it is critical for graduate students on the job market to have a website. It doesn't have to be a fancy website but you need to have one. One of the first things any web-savvy search committee is going to do is to look you up on the web, sometimes out of sheer curiosity more than anything. You don't want nothing to show up (and if your college-era website is scandalous, this might be the time to sanitize it).

What should you minimally have on your website:

  • Personal Statement - who you are, what your research is about, why it's important to anthropology (include your one paragraph summary here)
  • An abridged form of your c.v. Remove personal contact information from it (like your SS#, home address, home phone number, date of birth). You don't want to be an unwitting victim of identity theft.
  • List of publications. PDF files of those publications is good. Remember: publications are the one key that search committees look at to see if you are an active scholar.
  • List of classes you've taught or TAed along with sample syllabuses from classes you've taught. If you made mock-classes as part of your graduate training, then list those syllabi here too.
  • If you must have a photograph, make it a good photograph. Serious. No beefcake. A photograph of you lounging by a lake is minimally acceptable.
  • A reasonable domain name and e-mail address (i.e., don't be corny: is not professional)
  • Keep controversial political opinions to yourself for now. Now is not the time to post your college essay on Pro-Israel/Pro-Palestine/Pro-Abortion/Pro-Intelligent Design/etc. unless it's specifically part of your current academic work.
  • Caveats: If you are a woman, you should most probably excise mention of husbands, partners, and children (if applicable) from your site. You don't want to become an unwitting victim of gender discrimination in academia. I'm personally torn about "straightening up" websites. My own site mentions all of my AAA sections and activities. Any committee with a clue could read me. But I have found committees are pretty clueless in general. But you need to make up your own mind regarding this. Would you work at a place that wouldn't have you if they knew about your personal life?

You'll need a web hosting provider. In continuing with my general theme of "be portable," I would not recommend hosting your site on your school website. When you get a job or if you change jobs, you'll lose privileges to your own page. Instead, host the page on a separate independent server. Beware of free sites -- they are often advertiser driven. You don't want an advertisement for one of X-10's ubiquitous scantily dressed vidcam girls popping up when your search committee hits your page. The site I use to host,, charges $6/month for its cheapest account. Even for starving grad students, that's pocket change.

Setting up a site like this should take an afternoon at most. Microsoft Word has a (horrible) HTML export tool. Your school might have a site license to DreamWeaver or another HTML authoring program. I'm sure my gentle readers can also suggest other good software for writing web pages.

KEEP IT UP TO DATE: The only thing worse than a non-existing site is one that was last updated in 2001. You want to appear to be a candidate who is on top of things, actively producing new work, going to conferences, etc. This is one strong argument for running your own site and not out-sourcing it to the department secretary or IT team. Update it yourself, often.

Comments welcome, as always.

Links to Faculty Websites

These are some websites for thought. Some are well-done, others not so. As you browse the sites, imagine that you're a search committee trying to do some research on whether to hire them.

[Read other articles on Careers in Anthropology on]


Karen, could you write one of these about what kinds of positions in professional organizations are worth your time? Since, y'know, you're really good at that?

MuseumFreak - Do you mean academic associations (AAA, AAS, APSA, MLA, SOLGA etc.) or do you mean non-academic ones that you've interned at (NAACP, NOW, GreenPeace, etc.)?

I'm out of town for the next couple of weeks but promise to get back to this topic.

Academic associations. The reason I ask is that I did one at NASA and it turned out to be absolutely a time sink, a ton of work, and really didn't add to me professionally or make a positive change for anyone else at all. Right now I'm seriously considering putting my name forth for the AnthroSource planning committee (I'm certainly entering the essay contest!), but I'm wondering if that's going to be a similar waste of time.

I can suggest some other people with good professional websites if you like . . . I'm trying to start building my own so have been looking a lot.

I want to talk (but probably off blog as it has nothing to do with anything else here) about how you run a blog on your own site. Is it terribly difficult? Might it make more sense just for me to set up an extra livejournal solely for professional use and link to it (although I'm kind of wanting trackbacks and typekey)?

Another suggestion for a topic: how to write abstracts for book/journal things, how to shop your research around for publication and targeting the right publications, and writing proposals for grants/fellowships. That's where I'm at right now. I can handle the networking and representing myself in person and online, but how do I get my work in print?

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This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on May 12, 2005 1:33 PM.

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