Do Your Homework before You Apply for College Employment

During your search for college jobs, you will be asked why you want to work for a particular university. One successful applicant for a Human Resources job answered, “Who wouldn’t want to work here? XYZ University is known for being a progressive employer and for being a vital part of this community. Not only is this one of the top universities in the United States, but it is known for its family atmosphere.  I want to be a part of this family.”

This applicant did her homework. She looked at the school’s entire webpage- not just the Human Resources site. She used Google to find as much information as she could, and then she worked the information into her interview responses. She made references to the college’s work/life program, their pay structure and their family-like culture.

In response to a question about the type of organization she wanted to work for, she said, “I don’t want to wait for problems to come to me. I like your proactive approach to problems. You did this comprehensive internal study on gender equity, and even though the results showed there were no systemic problems, you still monitor the demographics to make sure none develop. I want to be part of an organization that looks ahead, not one that is constantly in reactive mode!”

This works for any type of university employment.  An applicant for faculty positions wowed the search committee by saying, “I love how Professor S is creating manipulative models to teach school kids about continental drift. I want to be part of an organization that encourages this type of partnership between faculty and local educators.”

In today’s competitive job market, you need to stand out from the crowd. By showing that you understand and appreciate unique school details, you help ensure that interviewers think of you as more than just another eager job applicant. They will think of you as the perfect new hire.

Dindy Robinson is Director of Compensation at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas.

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