If after reading Part I you would still like to go for a non-academic position in Higher Education, here are some tips on how to improve your chances.
Tip#1 – Knowledge of the sector: Like in every other industry, your recruiters will want to see evidence that you understand how things work in the sector, what challenges are ahead and how to overcome them. A good start for you to find out what’s happening in the field, is to start reading the relevant newspaper sections and any relevant online articles you can find, which will help you get a clear idea of things.
Tip#2 – Networking: Networking is always key in any job search. Not least in higher education. So if you know or are related to people who work in the industry, take advantage of their knowledge, experience and practical advice on what to look for, what to avoid, what attitude to adopt when interviewing, and how to present yourself to make an impact. If any person you know happens to know any of your recruiters, ask them to put in two good words for you. This may help a lot!
Tip#3 – Make your experience sound relevant: When writing an application form or when interviewing for a higher education position, don’t feel intimidated if you don’t have previous direct experience in the sector. As long as you can relate your past experiences to the position’s requirements, you still stand good chances. The secret on how to do this is to carefully read the job description and the person specification, and to try and think of one or two examples of when you fulfilled similar requirements in your previous positions.
Tip#4 – If you’re coming from outside HE, make it sound positive: You may think that you don’t stand many chances because you have no similar background. Wrong! In fact, if you are able to convince your recruiters that you will bring a fresh perspective into things (always desirable in HE) and that you past experiences will help you address the present challenges of the sector, then there you really have a very good shot at getting this position!