Feeling stuck. How do I get out of this rut?
By - thedoooooodd
I’ve worked in higher education for 10 years with a lot of great references and experience. I have been actively job hunting (mostly at my current institution) since October 2020. I just accepted a position last week. It is an insane job market right now. Don’t give up if you want to stay in higher ed… it is just crazy competitive and a tough market. I wish you a lot of luck and thick skin, job hunting is the worst- I so get the defeated thing, but something will come along if you can stick it out. Also congrats on finishing your MA!
I think it is important to attach yourself to the students you serve and the mission. For example, I really focused on the specifics of student demographics and mission as these pertain to my institution and I think that made me stand out. Connections also help, faculty support helps, networking and getting your name out there also doesn’t hurt. Sometimes it honestly is luck of the draw. I was passed on several roles I was more than qualified for… many went to internal department candidates and others it just wasn’t a good fit I guess. Keep in mind too, covid causes hiring freezes and so all those people had to wait to apply, it is just SUPER competitive right now. It can be very very discouraging, I don’t have advice for that, but I promise something will give eventually.
There may be some benefit to jumping to another university, especially since you are at your alma mater. I’ve seen this first hand—faculty and staff can have a hard time divorcing their experience of you as a student with you as a professional. The people I’ve seen be most successful in moving up are those that, at least briefly, went elsewhere and then returned.
My best friend is on the staff side in a director role. We work at her alma mater (small regional comprehensive). She went off to the big state school for a few years after her MA, gained a bunch of skills, then came back and worked her way up. It is frustrating, especially if you are good, but I have seen it SO much, especially at a small place.
I was in a similar spot last year. A career coach helped me a lot figuring out what I wanted for myself and designing a clear path to achieve my goals.
I can relate to this. I've been rejected from two internal jobs in the last few weeks, one of which I got to the interview stage for and one of which I didn't. I'm finding it very tough as well. I also worked at my alma mater for a time, though I've since moved on.
Rejection is hard at the best of times but it's extra crushing when it's internal. When it's external you can kind of just be like "oh well, didn't care about that company anyway".
A lot of time internal vacancies are advertised because they have to be, but the team will already have someone in mind for the role.
I'm trying to stay patient even though applying internally is a slow process because you're limiting yourself to one company rather than many.