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
- American College Personnel Association (ACPA), the leading comprehensive student affairs association, offers job postings and resources for positions in higher education.
- Academic360.com is a meta-collection of Internet resources that have been gathered for the academic job hunter.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education’s job posting site for administrative and faculty positions.
- Higheredjobs.com showcases a variety of staff and faculty positions in the higher education system.
- The Higher Education Recruitment Consortium offers resources about dual career searches as well as job postings
- The National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) is devoted to supporting the educational development of students through academic advising. NACADA offers a listing of positions divided by geographical area.
- National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) links college career professionals with recruiters to provide resources and employment opportunities. Their site offers a listing of open university positions.
- NAFSA: Association of International Educators, an organization dedicated to international education and exchange, offers a job posting site for international education positions.
- NASPA, an organization committed to student affairs, has career resources and a national job placement exchange that takes place at their annual conference.
- The Office of Human Resources at UW-Madison provides a list of open employment opportunities at the university.
- Be aware that some universities have a tendency to post exclusively on their own job listing site rather than a national job board. Job posting sites are usually located online as a link from the university human resources page.
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.
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.
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 Consultant to discuss your job search strategies.