Higher Education Staff Job Search

While positions for staff in higher education open throughout the year, the greatest number are posted from March through the end of the summer. Unlike the faculty job search process which starts almost a year in advance, most staff openings will be hiring for a month to a few months out. For example, a position may be posted in April for a start date in June or July.

It can be very advantageous to have direct experience in the specific departments you are looking for, such as residence life, diversity centers, academic advising, career services, etc. If you are completing a relevant degree in higher education, seek out internships and practicum placements in those offices.

Each university has their own hiring process for staff positions. Generally, applicants submit their materials online and go through an initial screening. Phone interviews are often the second step in the process to determine top candidates. Finally, top candidates are invited for an on-campus interview. These interviews can include tours of the campus and multiple interviews with office staff and search committee members/administrators. Additionally, applicants may be required to give a  presentation or complete a student affairs role play as part of their interview.

Job Searching Sites


Networking is an important component of any job search. Seek out advice from older students if you are in a graduate program and talk to staff/faculty connections you have. Let them know what types of positions you are seeking as they may have awareness about openings or know the typical hiring procedures for a specific institution. Connections on campus can provide you with insider knowledge about positions opening as well as enhance your job applications since universities sometimes prefer applicants with knowledge of the university.

Professional organizations in student affairs, including ACPA and NASPA, offer interviewing opportunities at their conferences. Attending these conferences can be an efficient way to meet and interview with multiple employers in a short time span.

Salary Resources

It can be beneficial to have a known salary range when job searching to aid in salary negotiation. As you look through job postings, compare the average salary listings. Additional information about salaries for various staff can be found at Higheredjobs.com. Most public universities are required to report their employees’ salaries in an online directory so searching for that can also provide salary information.

Additional Resources

Academic360 has compiled a list of diversity resources for those in higher education.

Colorado State University, in collaboration with NASPA, offers a free MOOC on “Exploring the Student Affairs in Higher Education Profession.”

Make an appointment with a Career Advisor to discuss your job search strategies.