AWP's Dossier Service Coming to an End

July 2, 2014

It is with regret that we announce that AWP’s decades-old dossier service will be coming to an end in March 2015. Do you have recommendation letters stored with us here at AWP? Please read on to learn more about the transition.

Our Commitments to You During This Transition

First, please know that your requests for mailings and any packages you have purchased will be honored through the end of March 2015. We will continue to have staff working to service your dossiers, and the new Career Services Coordinator, Taylor Simpson, will be your main point of contact. If you have any remaining mailings left after March 30, 2015, we will refund the remainder of the cost of those packages.

Second, we are committed to helping you move your files to a new career service of your choice—at our cost. The most compelling reason we have been forced to make this decision is that most of our clients have opted, over the past two years, to move their files to a company called Interfolio. With more and more hiring committees using Interfolio to review incoming dossiers electronically, it seemed to make sense to our users to house their recommendation letters there.

Why This Became Necessary

Please know that we did not come to this decision easily. Career Services has been an AWP member service for more than twenty-five years, and we have been proud to service tens of thousands of dossiers during that time. Sending dossier materials has also allowed us to interact personally with members over the years, and this interaction has been more meaningful on our end than you might know. We were also proud to be able to provide this service both less expensively and in a more personal manner than other groups.

If you were a member with us back in 2012, you will likely recall the Career Services survey we conducted. When the results showed that our membership wanted us to continue the service, we resolved to try and continue. We streamlined processes, updated our website, and advertised the service in new channels. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, we had the fewest number of members use the service than ever last year—only 345, or about 4% of our membership. This was a nearly 60% drop in the number of requests from the previous year. With this kind of response, we knew we just could not continue in the same fashion. Recently, our Board of Trustees voted to change the direction of Career Services.

A New Career Services Program

We felt that our dossier service filled a role, not just for your job searches, but also in how you saw AWP as a partner in your writing career. With the dossier service coming to an end, we are looking to change direction. One thing that we heard in the 2012 survey is that you want more information about the application process. AWP is in a unique position to be able to give you an insider’s view. Our Board of Trustees is composed mostly of writing professors who serve on hiring committees themselves. With our surveys of writing programs, Job List, and Career Advice articles, we have a pulse on the academic job market. We know what schools are looking for, and how applicants can best prepare and position themselves.

We envision a new Career Services program available at no additional cost to all members that provides a series of live and recorded webinars on the career topics most important to you. We are excited about this new initiative. Some of the topics we plan to cover include:

  • How to Prepare a CV and Cover Letter
  • Nontraditional Jobs for Creative Writing Graduates 
  • What Hiring Committees Want 
  • Follow-Up to the AWP Annual Report on the Academic Job Market 
  • Internships 
  • How to Ask for Recommendation Letters 
  • For New Creative Writing Students: How to Make the Most of Your Experience in Your Program and Prepare for the Job Market.

We plan to launch the webinar series in September 2014. We welcome your ideas for other meaningful sessions and invite you to send them to us.

File Transition

While you may still purchase Basic and Limited mailing packages, and we will continue to service requests through March 30, 2015, you can choose to send your file to a new dossier service now. Simply email Career Services with the email or mailing address of the new dossier service you would like to use, and we will transfer your CVs and recommendation letters at no cost to you. Please note that for confidentiality reasons, we remain unable to send you your letters directly.

If you have any questions or feedback, please contact me at diane@awpwriter.org. Thank you for being a Career Services client. We are sorry for whatever frustration this transition may cause you. We are excited, however, that we will be able to put AWP’s resources into an area that more members will be able to enjoy, and we are committed to helping you safely transition your transcripts and letters of recommendation in the months to come.

Sincerely,

Diane Zinna
Director of Membership Services


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