How To Become a Professor

I went to a talk that was basically titled "how to be successful in acadmia", i.e. how to become a professor which was held by two professors who are famous for their funny and interesting lectures. So, I went and the seminar room, which I only knew in a half-empty state, was full! People stood in the back of the room because it was so crowded (I have never seen this before at any talk I went to here).

However, the main message was "do cool science and be smart". Papers are important, but nobody's going to count the number of papers you have and say "well, this other candidate had one more paper than you, sorry". Have a clear application and not too much "stuff" (= don't list every single high school award etc.). Explain ideas and projects detailed and in a sharp way and don't present too many of them, but rather think about the details and challenges of a few ones carefully (e.g. in your research proposal). Apparently, it's hard for most people to only mention the most important aspects in their application and not write about every single bit they worked on.

The same applies to talks applicants give. Usually, those presentations are about 1h and some people end after 1h or even later, but 45 min talking are absolutely sufficient and it's vital to leave time for questions.

We were told it's helpful to talk to people who made it through the application process and compare their CV to yours and see if you're competitive. Often, CVs are online and you can trace back which kind of applications, fellowships, ... they had at the stage when they applied.