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Applying for a Job at a Community College

Best Practices, Suggestions and Advice Regarding the Full-Time English Faculty Search Process
English Department, Raritan Valley Community College, October 2013

Background Information about the Search Process

  • The position is advertised nationally, so the applicant pool is national, making the process very competitive
  • The English Department generally receives over 200 applications for each fulltime faculty position
  • Search committees are made up of several members of English Department fulltime faculty as well as faculty outside of the department
  • The search committee identifies a group of applicants to contact for additional information and/or a screening interview
  • The search committee narrows down that group to focus on candidates who they interview in more depth and who provide a teaching demonstration
  • The search committee identifies a group of finalists who also interview with the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and sometimes the President
  • The search committee is a recommending body and does not make the final decisions regarding which candidate receives the job offer. The President makes that final decision.
  • Search committee members are not allowed to discuss the search process with applicants either during the process or after it is over. Questions about the search should be directed to Human Resources.



  • Successful candidates read the job ad very carefully and follow its instructions very carefully
  • Successful cover letters are often two pages long and provide detailed examples of teaching effectiveness and a brief description of a teaching philosophy
  • Successful cover letters also explain the candidate's goals in professional development and research interests
  • Cover letters are written for an audience unfamiliar with the applicant (even if the applicant is an internal candidate) and unfamiliar with the English Department's curriculum because some members of the search committee will be outside of the English Department
  • Cover letters also explain why the candidate wants to teach not only at a community college but also at RVCC in particular
  • Successful candidates often have experience presenting their work (classroom experience or research) at conferences, and there are many small, local conferences to get started
  • Successful candidates often  are often  familiar with the issues in the Chronicle of Higher Ed, including discussions and advice about the job market





  • This document is intended to be general advice and not aimed at any specific search. At the time this document was released, the College had not yet decided whether the English Department would be conducting a search in 2013-2014.
  • Furthermore, following through on all of the advice here does not mean that a candidate will be interviewed, given the high number of applicants.


Additional Resources

How the Job Search Differs at Community Colleges, Chronicle of Higher Education, 18 Nov 2013




Updated 11/21/13 by SA


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