Karen Kelsky, an academic career coach at The Professor Is In, offers the following advice on job talks:
I’m deep in job-talk editing the past month or so, and I’m really startled at how bad many of these are, and with no good reason. It’s not the research that is bad, or the ideas of the writer, or the candidate’s credibility for the job. It’s the talks’ lack of simple organization, and their failure to grasp of the ethos and point of the genre.
So here’s a simple checklist for your job talk:
1) Do you have a clear one-paragraph intro that lays out the topic and sketches the basic plan of the talk? Don’t argue with me about this; just do it. “Thank you for having me. Today I’ll be speaking about XX. In the talk, I’ll be exploring XX from the perspective of XXX and will be relating it to XXX. I will show that XX is XXX, and ultimately argue that XXX can be understood as XXX.” Seriously, this is not that hard.