I spoke with a former student not long ago who is completing a doctorate and pondering the job market. He mentioned that he had volunteered to serve on some departmental committees so that he would have something under “service” on his CV.
I remember that same advice coming from my professors: If you volunteer for service, then search committees will know that you understand the realities of life in the professoriate and maybe even something about departmental politics.
After my conversation with the former student, I started pondering how often I have actually looked at the “service” section of an applicant’s résumé. Indeed, after serving on search committees for the better part of two decades, I can’t remember an applicant’s “service” ever coming up in our deliberations for entry-level faculty positions (although for chairmanship searches, it’s one of the first things to be discussed). I do remember colleagues joking that we ought to hire more people who would serve in their places on committees, but these were, in all honesty, just jokes.
Does an applicant’s committee or university service record really sway search deliberations?