Skip to main content
Blog > Career Advancement

How to Look for a Job at a College or University

How to Look for a Job at a College or University

Whether you are interested in finding a full-time job in education or a part-time one, there are a few tips to help you when starting the search.


Those who are not already in the education field may find it interesting that they can apply not only for teaching positions. So, they might find challenging transferring their skills from the private sector to a campus. Colleges and universities need people with experience in business, finance, sales, marketing, public relations, etc. to fill administrative vacancies.  For example, a candidate with a public relations background might apply for a position in the communication department. A psychologist may find a place in the counseling department. 


These candidates should also do some research not only on the institution but also on the programs offered for a deeper insight. Why? Well, because a community college, in general, has a different ambition for their students than a university offering six-year degrees. For example, a large number of community colleges may focus their interest in filling faculty positions more than in research, unlike a university which may give research more importance. Another example, community colleges paths the way for students to move to four-year colleges and also offer associate degrees in fields related to law enforcement, allied health, computer technology, among others.; contrasted to universities that expect their students to attend for a certain number of years with all its implications.


If you are a teaching candidate, in all cases, you need to be prepared to give a teaching demo. In this scenario, a teaching portfolio might be advantageous.  You can include actual teaching materials –like sample lessons, assignments and, assessments-, that translate your teaching philosophy into something tangible for the committee to see and, they can also illustrate how you would deal with a class.

Knowing the student population beforehand is relevant because, during a possible interview, you will be able to handle your materials in such a way to show the committee that you are flexible and conscious of differences inside the classroom to adjust your content suitably. 

Networking is also essential in a job search because it will let you get information about potential employers, new posts in the market, and those not advertised.

A checklist of any job search process should include:

  • A letter of application that should target how your expertise fits the –teaching- philosophy of the institution.
  • A resume and a CV tailored to the job posting.
  • A cover letter and personal/teaching statement, which show all that that you cannot convey in your resume or CV.
  • List of contacts of possible recommenders. Tell them they will be contacted for references and do not overload them asking for letters unless you know for sure you will need a recommendation in writing.
  • A teaching portfolio.


Salary is not a minor issue. If you want to become rich, then a job in education may not be the right option for you. Many colleges and universities have an established scale of salaries. So, find out if there is some room for negotiation. You may also open a door bargaining over a spouse, transportation, health benefits, etc.

Start with those colleges conveniently located according to your needs. Research the postings on their websites to learn about their expectations. And consider getting in contact with the department person in charge of the job posting to get some visibility as a prospective candidate.