Writing effective promotion applications

How to ensure your promotion application has the best possible chance of success

Publication details

Harzing, A.W. (2022) Writing effective promotion applications: Crafting your career in academia, Published by Tarma Software Research Ltd, London, United Kingdom.

  • Kindle edition, 125pp. ISBN 978-17396097-1-9.
  • Black & white paperback, 115pp. ISBN 978-1-7396097-3-3.
  • Black & white hardcover, 115 pp. ISBN 978-17394538-0-0.


While academics are not known for their emotional outbursts, it’s only fair to say that I absolutely LOVE this book – and have found it exceptionally helpful myself. Harzing guides aspirant applicants carefully and supportively through the promotion application process in a breezy and accessible style. She offers practical advice and encouragement, drawn from her own personal experience on both sides of the promotion ‘desk’, and the wisdom and authenticity of her voice leaps from the page. The subtitle of the book is particularly important and insightful. Applicants are instructed how to best craft narratives about themselves - rooted in their achievements - revealing the unique individual that the promotion panel is asked to consider. I can’t recommend this highly enough. Tim Freeman

This book is a game changer in making a complex and emotive process accessible and understandable. Anne-Wil Harzing has transformed a challenging and frustratingly unknown abyss of how to write a strong and competitive promotion application into a structured and meaningful set of tasks that get you to the finishing line. I can validate this as someone who has followed each page painstakingly and can testify upon completion that the journey from start to finish was meaningful and smooth. Thank you Anne-Wil for caring so much to put together a testament of long-term global experience meant to mentor and support others, this is a major gift! Anastasia Christou

I have used this book while preparing my application to associate professor in a UK university. I have in particular appreciated how it succeeds in making one understand the point of view of the panel on the application or how the application will be "read" by the panel and therefore writing it in a way that addressed that. For instance, one often forgets how the panel will not likely comprise individuals in one's own discipline. It is also effective in making one reflect on how to underline strengths in one's career trajectory. In my case, having moved between disciplines I have tended to consider this as a weakness in promotion applications, but the book suggested how I could defend that choice or even making it a selling point. Nico Pizzolato

For more reviews see Amazon.

Book description

Want to progress in academia? Read this book for practical, step-by-step guidance on writing effective promotion applications, leaving you better prepared to climb the academic career ladder. 

You will learn how to evidence that your research, teaching, and leadership has made a real difference and demonstrates how to embed this evidence in an overall career narrative. 

I provide insights into how your promotion panel evaluates your application, explain why external promotion is easier to achieve than internal promotion, but also outline the advantages of internal promotion.

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Promotion through the various academic ranks can be a slow, frustrating, and opaque process and there are few things in academic life which elicit such strong emotions. At the same time, for many academics achieving promotion to full or associate professor is one of the most important milestones of their academic careers. This is not surprising. Academic salaries are low when compared to other professions that require the same length of training and working hours. Moreover, rejection is a constant feature of academic lives. Hence, promotion is one of the few big positive reinforcements we get in our academic careers.

Even so, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of guidance for academics going up for promotion. As a result, many promotion applications are not as effective as they could be. In this short book, I have documented the lessons I have learned about the process, both from a personal and from an institutional perspective, and have provided detailed recommendations for successful promotion applications. I hope this will help you to better understand this highly contested topic and provide you with the tools to be successful in your own promotion application. I would love to hear from you if you feel this book has helped you.

Table of contents

Below is the chapter outline of the book. If you would like to know more about what is included, you can download a very detailed table of contents and the introduction to the book here.

  • Chapter 1: Academic promotion - Understand the process
  • Chapter 2: Treat your application as a journal submission
  • Chapter 3: Evidence your impact in Research & Engagement
  • Chapter 4: Evidence your impact in Teaching & Learning
  • Chapter 5: Evidence your impact in Leadership & Service
  • Chapter 6: Craft your career narrative
  • Chapter 7: Internal versus external promotion
  • Conclusion
  • Further reading
  • Appendix: Example of promotion application, full professor

All books in this series

Academic promotion series

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