Today, AnHai Doan gave a talk on Academic job hunting. Now, I've taken AnHai's class, and he is a very good speaker. At first, he doesn't seem impressive ... but as soon as he starts to talk, he just has everyone listening. He is very very funny, and even makes jokes at his own expense.
Anyway, AnHai talked about how we should proceed when looking for an Academic job in a talk school. Lately, UIUC is lagging behind other schools in academic job placement of its graduates. AnHai says the key is to get into the habit of "people watching", network with people, and know who to impress. Interestingly, AnHai says that paper count is NOT the main thing ... rather the quality of paper and how it's closely related to research area is important.
Another thing is to generate "buzz" and have a presence. Academic recruiters look for people they can hire, and a good word from a high-placed person can mean a lot.
I was impressed by AnHai's talk ... I hope I'd be able to incorporate some of that into my own life.