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Job Talk HERC's Jobseeker Blog

Job Talk HERC's Jobseeker Blog

HERC's blog for jobseekers, Job Talk, offers tips from experts in the field that will help you with your search and provide the best ways to promote yourself to prospective employers.

users award logoJob seekers have spoken, and this year www.HERCjobs.org received a 2015 User’s Choice award for best job board by the WEDDLE’s annual User’s Choice Awards.

HERCjobs.org is a unique job board in that it represents a consortium of over 600 colleges and universities who are dedicated to improving diversity in higher education employment. The award-winning site is also a gateway for professionals from fields including marketing and information technology who want to kick-start a career in higher education.

There are over 200,000 employment sites currently in operation on the Internet, and these sites have been recognized as the elite of their field by the job seekers, employers and recruiters who use them.

Now celebrating their eleventh year, WEDDLE’s annual User’s Choice Awards are the only accolades in which actual users are able to vote for the employment sites they think work best.  While the poll is not a scientific survey, it does indicate the intensity of support users have for their favorite sites.

“We believe customers count most,” says WEDDLE’s CEO, Peter Weddle.  “While pundits will always have their favorites, it’s the people who use the sites who really know which are the most helpful.”

The winners were selected in open balloting conducted throughout 2014 at the WEDDLE’s Web-site (www.weddles.com).  Thousands of unique ballots were cast and the top thirty vote-getters were selected as the 2015 User’s Choice Award winners.  For a complete list of the winners, please visit http://www.weddles.com/awards.

HERC and trustee-level partner jobs.ac.uk recently held a webinar on ‘Global Academic Careers: Exploring International Opportunities’ for our jobseekers and here we summarize some of the important points covered in the event.  Don’t worry if you missed it though because you can watch the recording here.

The internationalization of education has not just been about students; faculty, too, are increasingly looking overseas to advance their career, develop greater awareness of other cultures and engage in exciting teaching, research and other valuable experiences.

How an international experience is a plus for an academic career

Today, most universities view favorably faculty who have gained international experience.  In China and many other Asian countries, for example, most new faculty appointments in top universities are expected to have completed post graduate study overseas. An international experience adds to the diversity of faculty and helps to develop their cultural IQ. This cultural sensitivity and awareness is especially valuable given universities in the US and most other countries are now admitting increasing numbers of international students.  Having the experience of being a ‘foreigner in a strange land’ provides faculty members with a deeper understanding and empathy that enables them more effectively to engage foreign students in their classes and advise domestic students about the benefits and challenges of study and work abroad.

Research and teaching opportunities

Teaching overseas also affords an academic with multiple research opportunities.  Indeed, in Australia and China, for example, grant application guidelines often give weight to applications that are international in nature and bring together academics and perspectives from other countries. 

Funding bodies such as the Asia Development Bank  and UN  also offer significant grant and consulting opportunities for academics engaged in research and capacity building in relation to overseas countries.  Finally, those US academics who work overseas and return home will typically bring back with them a network of faculty, student, government and industry contacts and network that will result in significant benefits and additional future opportunities.

Look particularly at countries where the higher education system is expanding rapidly such as the Mid-East, Eastern Europe, developing countries such as China, India and Brazil as well as Africa and South America.  If you speak another language in addition to English that is of course a huge plus.

Dual-career couples & benefits for the whole family

On a personal level, too, an international experience can be educational for the whole family.  In my family, for example, we have in most years had an international student living with us.  This experience has helped to inculcate in our two daughters an acceptance and appreciation of other cultures.  Again, this cultural awareness had benefitted them in both their personal relationships and careers.  By way of example, when we visited our home-stay student in Thailand and met her family, my daughters (then in grades 4 and 7) were taken along to school, gave speeches, and learned much about Thai culture and people.  In doing so, they also learned more deeply what is uniquely Australian and American in their Australian-American backgrounds.

Most countries and universities today also recognize that it is common to have dual career couples.  In Australia as well as China, my partner had little difficulty also securing work first as an accountant and later in her career as a university lecturer in accounting.

How to find job opportunities

Finding opportunities requires both a self-assessment of your particular strengths and interests as well as an outward evaluation of the different higher education markets that need what you have to offer. There are multiple ways to find out about international opportunities.  One of the best is through leading career sites such as jobs.ac.uk.

Major job listing sites, government employment sites, major international and national agencies and others will often post international jobs, projects and consulting opportunities.  Many governments seek to both internationalize their faculty and attract foreign faculty members to work with their local faculty. 

The China Global Talents Program  that I was fortunate to participate in, for example, is designed to attract foreign experts to work in China for a three year period.

There are special programs like the Fulbright  awards as well as international exchanges and volunteer opportunities for faculty.   The major professional management and accounting firms also often advertise opportunities for international consultancies.

When travelling abroad one can visit other universities and get to know foreign scholars who are teaching and researching in the same area.  These connections often lead to joint papers, projects, visiting lectures, short-term teaching, research consulting and other opportunities abroad.

Summary
There are many pathways for faculty to have an international experience—an experience that is highly valuable both personally and for career advancement.

For those seeking such an experience, the key is to remain open to the different possibilities, start small, do your homework and make full use of available networks. Above all, enjoy the journey.

You can watch the recording of the ‘Global Academic Careers: Exploring International Opportunities’ webinar here.  jobs.ac.uk also have a really useful free ebook you can download here: The jobs.ac.uk Global Academic Careers Guide .

 

About the author
Dr Eugene Clark is Distinguished Professor of Law and Senior Foreign Expert with the College of Comparative Law, China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. He is also an Emeritus Professor and former Pro-Vice Chancellor (External Relations), University of Canberra and Professor of Law and Founding Dean of the Charlotte School of Law.

Originally from the US, Professor Clark has worked in China,
Thailand and Australia.  He has earned five university degrees that include post graduate qualifications in law and also education from universities in both the US and Australia.

This contribution has been provided by HERC Trustee-level partner www.jobs.ac.uk, the leading international online recruitment website for academic, research, science and related professions in the UK and worldwide.

WritingAs 2015 begins, many individuals have  job searching in mind.  Being trapped indoors on days of inclement weather this time of year adds to the  conduciveness of perusing job sites and thinking about one’s career objectives.  I have written in the past about how important it is to zone in to the detailed needs of the open position as stated in job descriptions---matching those needs up exactly with one’s own skills and experience.  It does, however, impress interviewers if a candidate has a sense of the big picture and trends in the industry.  Make no mistake, higher education is becoming more and more like an “industry.”  So that alone is one major trend.  This development does not mean that academic institutions are at all losing sight of the overall combined mission, i.e. educating students and conducting research.  Yet Universities by necessity  are increasingly bottom line driven given the cost of operating especially within urban areas.  This trend translates to more need for new hires with finance and budget savvy even if the job is not exclusively  focused on those skills. 

Additionally, more jobs are being created where law degrees are an asset.  This is a shift from the past when lawyers had little opportunity in academia other than in the General Counsel’s Office. Interviewers also expect the candidate to be up to date on current events in higher education everywhere and especially when their own entity has been in the news. They  often complain to me when a candidate does not know If/when the institution has been in the news recently.  In these times of media bombardment there is no excuse for not knowing what the latest news stories are.  Universities have their own Facebook and Linked In pages.  Some have multiple pages for each and every School within.  I would not bring up some controversial negative press unless the issue relates to the job for which you are interviewing.  But just knowing about topics such as campus growth and expansion or key areas of research shows that you have the intellectual curiosity and commitment to being part of a greater whole. 

Contributed by By Paula Goodman, Director of Recruitment / HR Client Services-CUHR at Columbia University

work abroadThere are so many good reasons for academics to consider seeking work abroad, whether you are looking for your first post, feeling “stuck” in the same routine or unable to advance where you are, or simply wanting a change of place and pace. So—what do you need to know to get started?

If you have a PhD, and especially if you have teaching experience, a successful funding history and/or publications, you have something of value to universities and research centres around the world. It’s all about locating opportunities using international sites like jobs.ac.uk, and crafting the right approach.

Tailor your tactics

Every country has its own rules about how an academic CV and cover letter should be formatted and what they should contain. The application and interview process may also be different, and you need to research institutions and programmes very carefully to make sure you present your skills in the most attractive way possible.

For example, there are areas of academic work where there is an oversupply of qualified staff in the US, but a strong demand overseas—especially in rapidly developing nations like China, India and Brazil. The way higher education is delivered may differ from what you are used to, however, so it’s important to learn about different academic cultures and professional expectations as well as specific programmes and courses where you might fit. Referring to this information in your application will show that you are serious about working internationally, not just taking a casual, long-shot approach.

Your own background and experiences are one of your greatest selling factors. Think carefully about how these could be of value to your future students and colleagues, but also make it clear that you want to broaden your knowledge through international work.

Pros and cons of working overseas

There is much less use of adjunct staff and graduate students as lecturers in most overseas universities, and both research and teaching can command respect. That can mean a positive working environment.

Pay and other benefits can also be better, although this is not always the case. Be sure to consider the impact on income of things like mandatory health insurance, local housing costs, and moving.

If you are single, seeking work overseas is easier. Those with family commitments must also consider the needs of their partner and/or children. There may be visa and work permit issues, and education and lifestyle changes could be problems or attracting factors.

Tenure can also be an issue. Overseas experience can help you land your first tenure-track post later, but could also take you off the track. Consult with a trusted colleague about how best to proceed.

Things to think about

First, consider whether you are open to long-term relocation or just a short break, such as a semester abroad or a one-year temporary post. You could dip your toe in the water by trying academic exchange programme first, which you can do without leaving your current job.

Second, consider which countries make the most sense based on your academic discipline. Working overseas can be used as a way to gain access to key research sources and networks, and to work alongside world-renowned colleagues in your field.

These steps will allow you to narrow down the list of potential targets to a manageable number, and research only those that meet your criteria.

About the author
Dr Mitzi Waltz is Associate Lecturer in Autism Studies with Sheffield Hallam University in England, and a contract researcher with Disability Studies in Nederland in Holland. She has been a lecturer at three British universities, and worked in collaboration with universities and research organisations across Europe.

This contribution has been provided by HERC Trustee-level partner www.jobs.ac.uk, the leading international online recruitment website for academic, research, science and related professions in the UK and worldwide.

people watching a clockI have mentioned in the past that job hunting in higher education is a very long process.  This time of year as the semester is drawing to a close, the process could take even longer.  I am continually dealing with advisees who are suffering through the waiting-to-hear stage.  So two issues I will try to address here are (1) Why DOES it take so long and (2) How should one handle themselves while waiting.

1) Recruiters are often called upon by management to provide a particular metric known as “time-to-fill”.  This relates to the date from when a job was posted and when it was closed.  The timespan can be anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months depending on the circumstances.  A short time frame is far less common and is attributable  either to a sense of urgency  or to the position being a role where the requirements are extremely specific and the pool of candidates is very small and easy to target.  The average duration of 3 months factors in the various stages of posting, advertising, reviewing resumes, scheduling interviews, and gathering interview feedback to move to a final stage.  Final scheduling and gathering final feedback then follow.   Reference checks then need to be done as well as background checks depending on the type of role.  If a hiring unit such as an academic department does not have an internal human resources person(s) then recruiting can take much longer---especially if committees are involved.  There could also be the issue of internal/departmental politics that could potentially delay the process.  At my institution we try to indicate at the end of a posting whether or not a possible candidate has been pre-identified so that any new applicant can choose to apply or not.  I believe it cannot hurt to still apply  This time of year with the combined pressures of the end of the semester looming ahead plus the upcoming holidays, you should realize that the process is very apt to drag on.

2) So if you are “in play”, I think it matters a great deal how you carry yourself.  While internals ought to know firsthand how long filling a position may take, they sometimes have an even greater sense of frustration.  I know of cases where internals choose to withdraw since they take the delay personally.  But whether you are internal or external, there is a fine line between too frequent follow ups that could convey desperation or cause annoyance and sending periodic reminder expressions of interest.  Recently someone said they wanted to fabricate another offer to provoke a decision on their status.  I discouraged them from doing so since this could backfire.  I am most sympathetic to candidates who are not currently working and for whom waiting time seems endless.  It does not help for me to say “it is not about you”  since if someone is unemployed, it is very hard to grasp the big picture.   Carrying oneself with dignity and even empathy for a harassed hiring manager tells an employer a great deal about you and will work in your favor.

Contributed by By Paula Goodman, Director of Recruitment / HR Client Services-CUHR at Columbia University

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