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Tips for Applying for College Jobs

Application Tips

This page offers guidance about typical application materials required and processes followed by many of the college districts. This information is not intended to substitute for the procedures outlined in a college's job announcement.

Job application basics

  • Recruitment practices vary. Similar jobs at two different colleges may have very different application processes. Read the job announcement carefully and respond with the specific information requested.
  • Each district is a separate employer. If you're interested in similar positions at different colleges, you must apply separately for each position.
  • The most common error applicants make is skimming the job announcement and omitting required information.

Job search resources

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Your resume and application letter are the main documents used to determine how closely your qualifications match position requirements and the overall needs of the college. Without all components, your application may not be considered further. For most colleges, a complete application packet includes:

  • Cover or application letter
  • Application form
  • Resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Professional references
  • Additional materials (essays, examples of work, portfolios)

Application letter

Applicants are asked to describe their ability to perform the specific duties and responsibilities assigned to the position. In higher education, this is not the usual one-page cover letter, introducing yourself and your resume. This is your opportunity to match your education and experience to the job responsibilities. Give yourself credit for your education and experience. Your application letter should be succinct and meaningfully related to the position for which you're applying.


Your resume should clearly describe and give details related to your education, professional and/or volunteer experiences that qualify you for the position. Make sure you clearly include the information needed to determine if you meet the minimum and/or preferred qualifications.


Depending on the college or the position, references may be either letters and/or a list of professional references with contact information. They should be individuals who can speak to your ability to perform the duties assigned to the position and to work in today's educational environment.

Application form

An application form is usually submitted along with the other materials. The forms are available from the college human resource office. Often, application forms are submitted online or by email.

Each college defines its own process for reviewing and screening application materials, so there may be differences. Typically, the hiring process includes, but is not limited to:


The college human resource staff or a committee member screen all application packets for basic qualifications (minimum and/or preferred) and completeness of application.

Review committee

The hiring or review committee reviews each qualified applicant's materials. Review committee membership depends on the type of position being filled. For faculty positions, the majority of committee members are on the faculty. Administrators, students, classified employees and community members may also participate. This is an in-depth review of each applicant's materials and, depending upon the number of applicants, may take some time. Through a consensus process, the committee identifies which applicants to interview. References may be checked at this point or later in the process.


Interviews may include — depending on the position and local practice — a teaching demonstration, public forums, interviews with a variety of interested groups. In some cases, a short telephone interview may be the first interview. There may be a second or third interview. Committees and others participating in the interview process forward recommendations and/or feedback to the hiring authority. Hiring authority reviews recommendations and information and makes determination. Offer is extended and candidates are notified.


Many colleges notify applicants of their status at the conclusion of the process; others as the process continues. For a variety of reasons, a determination may be made to extend, re-open or cancel a recruitment effort. Contact the college's human resource office with questions about the status of hiring process.


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Last Modified: 9/10/21, 2:12 PM

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