What can you do to enhance your chances for success when applying for higher education jobs? Read through the posting for the position and identify the most important characteristics for which the college is looking. Write your cover letter to show exactly how you match the stated needs of the job. For example:

  •  “I have an instinctive feel for technology that has been put to use in the implementation of new IS strategies— a perfect match for your need for someone who can guide Jane Smith University through the conversion to your new information system.”
  • “I notice you are looking for someone who can hit the ground running with the implementation of new student programs. I have a high comfort level with working in a fast-paced environment requiring multi-tasking and prioritization. I am accustomed handling complex projects with a short deadline and have a reputation for getting things done.”

As hard as it may be for candidates to remember, it is more important to show how YOU, the candidate, can match the needs of the university than to show how the university can meet your needs. Keeping this in mind, when you are given the opportunity during an interview to ask questions, ask lots of them, and ask questions that show that you are interested in the job and that you already have a handle on how to, well, handle the job. For example:

  • What are the biggest challenges the person in this position will be expected to handle?
  • Think back on people who have NOT been successful in this organization. What kept those people from being successful?

Remember, the goal is to show what you can do for the organization. Craft your responses toward that goal, and you will have success in your search for college employment.

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

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