In today's buyer's marketplace one little error in your submission for an academic position can cause your entire application to be rejected, not because you can not do the job, but because of an administrative oversight.
How can you minimize the chances of these errors? Set up a tracking system that makes sense - one that you can easily monitor.
When a university has an open position, they require certain information of an applicant. In many cases, the requirements are similar (CV, references, statement of teaching philosophy etc.), so for those similar items make sure you have them available both in a printed format and electronically. For those items that are different for each school (i.e. cover letter, special information, etc) , make sure you have copies from previous applications to refer back to or use as a template when you need to provide a similar document for another academic position. Always review and proof-read all of your documentation.
As you start your university job search process keep a detailed record of each opening, which items are required, references submitted, keywords found in the job description, copy of the cover letter, deadline dates, etc. At times you may wish to "customize" certain information for a given position and you need to keep track of what you sent with each application.
Applying for open college positions can become mechanical in nature, but you need to make each application stand out on its own and show the review committee that they need to hire you! This is where you must highlight your strengths relative to the university position and sell your abilities to the reviewers.
Almost equally important is your follow-up. Keeping in contact with the school and showing your continued interest is important.
If for whatever reason, you receive some form of communication letting you know that you were not offered the position, try to find out what qualifications the other person had that you lacked in a positive manner and use this feedback to better understand you strengths and focus.
Rich Gerstin is the founder of The Asheforde Group and is the head of math department at Brown Mackie College, Atlanta
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