Three Tips For Obtaining a Job in Higher Education

Colleges and universities are large businesses that rely on a variety of different types of employees to keep things running smoothly and maintain a positive environment for their students. In the U.S., colleges and universities generate about $442 billion each year, and the industry has grown by about 9.4% annually over the last five years. While higher education institutions need to constantly ensure that they have adequate staffing from semester to semester, obtaining a position at a college or university isn't easy, and jobs in higher education administration and teaching are particularly competitive. Those interested in working in higher education administration jobs or faculty jobs should keep in mind the following tips when applying and interviewing for a position:

  1. Don't Use a Cookie-cutter Approach - When applying for a number of different jobs, it can be tempting to use a similar cover letter throughout the process. This is a huge mistake, and it could be the difference between getting a job or not. It is important to treat each position as a unique opportunity, crafting the cover letter around the specific job requirements and nature of the school. Using a cookie cutter approach could even cause a person to inadvertently insert the wrong school's name, which is an immediately red flag for employers.
  2. Pay Attention to Detail - Ensuring that cover letters, CVs, writing samples and letters of recommendation are perfect is crucial when applying for any job, but especially in the higher education industry. As leaders of educational institutions, employers at colleges and universities need to ensure that their faculty is adequate to be teaching students at a high level. Application materials that are riddled with mistakes can immediately disqualify an applicant, especially since there are likely many others with flawless cover letters and resumes.
  3. Be Flexible - Securing an interview is a huge step in the search for education administration or teaching jobs, and it is important for applicants to be well-prepared if they want to have a successful interview. One of the biggest things an employer looks for during an interview is someone who is flexible. They want someone that is willing to try different things and take on responsibilities that might be outside the job description. An applicant with a wide range of abilities is much more appealing to a college or university than someone with a narrow scope.

There are currently about 1,837 colleges and universities throughout the U.S., making administration and faculty positions quite competitive in the industry. Treating each job opening as a unique opportunity, paying attention to details and being flexible can all increase an applicant’s chances of obtaining a position in this competitive field.

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