The notion of changing the world through personal ideas and beliefs is immensely attractive. It is prompting many successful business executives to consider a transition to academia. Without a stellar résumé on which to rely, however, it can be a challenge to find a teaching position at the institution of your choice. Overcome the deficit by using these three simple steps as the foundation of your application.
Use Your Network
Connections can be a foot in the door in the world of business and the same is true in the world of academia. Do not limit yourself to people whom you know personally but leverage the reach of your entire extended network. Practice some caution – instead of reaching out to a tenuous contact-of-a- contact directly, elicit an introduction through a mutual acquaintance. LinkedIn is an excellent place to begin but personal contacts are even better. Cold leads can work, but the process involves considerably more trial and error. Focus your efforts on heads of departments, on program (e.g. MBA) directors, or human resources managers.
Don’t Wing It
Whether you “stage” your run-in with a school administrator or are unexpectedly introduced to a potential lead, have a considered pitch ready to go. Some of the basic information that you should share includes business experience relevant to the teaching role, key metrics you have achieved, and management roles in which you have excelled. Highlight previous teaching positions if you have held them, or roles in which you worked as an instructor. Experience of this nature showcases your ability to deliver in front of an audience because that is the basis of any teaching role. (See my recent article The Re-Invention of the Elevator Pitch for more advice about perfecting your pitch.)
Prepare the Paperwork
A CV for a real-world business role is different from a CV for a teaching position; there is greater emphasis on the ability to explain concepts rather than execute them. Adapt the content to highlight how you have helped convey complex ideas in a work environment. Most candidates do not have a clear idea on what they want to teach, settling instead for vague concepts when asked to explain what they bring to the table. Give yourself the decisive edge by creating a provisional syllabus that you can include with your CV. Highlight particular areas in which you excel but that the institution does not currently cover.
There are few career moves that can match the satisfying privilege of shaping the future through education. These three strategies will give you a reliable launch pad from which to begin this rewarding professional evolution. Contact me today to discuss more ways to approach your professional evolution.