What a search committee would look for in a candidate that a corporate employer would

Even though academic employment and employment in the corporate world are in many ways worlds apart, success before a search committee isn’t one of those ways.

Aside from the universally applicable basics about proper dress, showing up on time and sending appropriate and speedy thank-you notes, here are a few additional items to keep in mind when facing the search committee:

1)    Make a good impression.  In addition to the rules on attire, it is expected in the higher education community that candidates have done their research on the school, its leadership, and the people who will be conducting the interviews. Candidates should brush up on the basics of the institution and the community.

2)    Clean up your digital profiles.  It’s a fact of life - we all have a digital “identity” that practically anyone in the world can access. Google yourself and see what you find. Is your Facebook profile private? Even if it is, others can see things that might not necessarily put you in the best light once they have been shared. Drill several pages down in your Google results and see what you see. You may be surprised.

On the other hand, if you are a thought leader in your specialization, an active blog and a legion of followers on Twitter may help you. Your university may find extra value in positioning you as an expert, endearing you to the marketing and communications team.

3)    Proofread your credentials.  Unfortunately, academic dishonesty still happens. It does come back to haunt candidates; there have been numerous high-profile individuals who have been relieved of their jobs after lies find their way to the light of day. In addition, scrupulously proofread every line on your vitae for mistakes. Sloppiness is never regarded well.

4)    Is it right for me?  In the corporate world, jobs are taking longer to fill, and processes becoming more arduous for job-seekers because of one word -  fit. Employers are looking for people who will work well within their existing structures and teams. So, do your homework. If relocating for a job, the bar is even higher - can a life-long city dweller fit in a college town? What about a trailing spouse, or kids? If you are not happy, no one will be.

Kimberley Sirk is a North Carolina-based writer and editor with government, higher education and big-brand healthcare public relations and marketing experience.

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