Obtaining a full time position at a college is no easy feat. Professors tend to stay with a job and as a result the full time faculty positions that become available tend to be highly competitive when it comes time to fill those slots. A tenured job like this is very attractive and being these full time teaching positions are extremely desirable, it is not uncommon that a high pool of candidates will be applying.
So what do you do to separate yourself from other applicants?
*Networking. This is extremely valuable and can’t be emphasized enough. Attend any event or invite you receive that is associated with academia. When I worked for a college, I learned networking was an important part of becoming a member of the college community.
*Education. You’ll need a strong educational background to be accepted for a teaching position. Colleges may ask for official transcripts with your application.
*Develop a strong resume and portfolio. This is another important step in your mission to obtaining a teaching position. My boss always expected an applicant to have examples of accomplished work. If you don’t have much experience, you might want to consider teaching some non-credit courses to get your feet wet.
*Apply for adjunct positions. What better way to get your foot in the door than to start by teaching a class or two each semester? By doing this you become part of the faculty and when a full time position opens up, you’ll already be known. If one doesn’t open up, having held part time teaching positions will demonstrate you have a level of experience when you apply at other universities.
*Learn how to find positions. Perform job searches on a regular basis using professional resources. It is unlikely to find these jobs advertised on bulletin boards or in the classified. Learn the where and the how faculty openings are advertised.
*Fine tune your people skills. You can possess all the tangible knowledge in the world, but without having strength in the “soft skills”, you’re likely to be passed over for the job. I worked with an adjunct professor who had no personable skills and students constantly filed complaints about his style of teaching and non-support in the classroom. His classes began to frequently be cancelled for low enrollment and the administration stopped asking him to teach courses. A college won’t want to waste time on a faculty member that cannot effectively engage students.
These are some of the observations I’ve made while working in a college administrative office with administrators and in talking with faculty members. Paying careful attention to detail will aid you in your quest to landing a full time faculty position. Faculty positions are highly coveted and very competitive, and in carefully cultivating your experience and credentials, you will be a stronger applicant. By having the patience and tenacity to carefully develop your qualifications for the job, it will be well worth the wait.