A Serenity Prayer for Job Seekers

There are certain things you cannot control when you are searching for your ideal higher education job:

  • The university already knows who they want to hire and is just going through the motions of an open recruitment because their Affirmative Action Plan requires it.
  • The hiring manager has an unconscious bias against people who come from your state of origin.
  • A daughter of a major donor is also applying for the job.
  • A candidate who is better qualified for the job than you applies for the job.

You can’t control what happens in any of these cases, so in your job search process, focus instead on the things you can control. Make sure your resume is absolutely perfect. Practice your interview skills. Triple check your employment application for typos. Customize your cover letter to highlight how you are a perfect match for this university position. Research the university and the department before you show up for your interview. Practice responding to common interview questions.

There are always going to be things that you can’t control in any situation. Don’t waste your time complaining about them. You are the one who decides to smile or frown. You are the one who is in control of how you respond to interview questions. You are the one who is in control of how your resume looks or if your cover letter has typos. You are the one who is in control of the clothes you wear, how your hair looks, or whether or not you are on time for the interview. You are the one who decides whether to be nice or rude to the receptionist, who just may be related to the dean of the school.

Pay attention to those items you can control, and let the other items take care of themselves.


Dindy Robinson has many years of human resources experience in higher education institutions.


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