When It Comes to Applying for a Job, Do Sweat the Small Stuff

When looking for higher education jobs, it’s important to pay attention to the details. Check your spelling, grammar and punctuation in your cover letter, resume and application. Remember, you are applying to work at a university.

Take your time in completing online applications. Yes, it is a pain to have to enter your information every time you apply for a job at a different university. Yes, it is natural to want to take shortcuts and refer viewers to your resume for more information. Yes, many people prefer to list just one or two jobs on the online application, and expect hiring managers to view their resume for their complete employment history. This strategy can backfire, however, as hiring mangers want to see your experience on the standard application format so they can easily identify dates of employment, duties and previous salary, as well as easily compare your experience to that of other applicants.

If you have applied for previous jobs at the same university, make sure your application is up to date before submitting it for a new opportunity. Otherwise you may be leaving your last several years of experience off the application.

Use the online application to highlight your accomplishments at your previous jobs. Don’t just list your job duties; describe your achievements. Show the hiring manager what you’ve done for previous employers. For instance, instead of “Organized summer computer camps” write, “Organized free summer computer camps for at-risk gifted and talented students at zero cost to the university by obtaining sponsorships from area technology firms.”

Answer the screening questions thoughtfully, as though you are in an interview situation. This is your first chance to make a good impression on the hiring manager, and you won’t get another chance to make a first impression.

Dindy Robinson is the Director of Compensation at Texas Christian University.

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