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The Academic Job Market in 2023: What to Expect, How to Prepare

2023 academic job search suggestions

New Year, new job. Or jobs. Adjunct instructors, whether primarily on-ground or online, juggle multiple sections, courses, and institutions to create a career in higher education. It’s an employment environment that requires instructors to be highly flexible and responsive to all client institutions and clients. These are traits that go beyond formal qualifications. What else are hiring managers looking for as we head into 2023? Professor Services at the Babb Group asked two of its clients for their thoughts on the academic job market for prospective faculty over the next year.

Expect More Competition

Competition for teaching jobs in higher education is fierce, and it is about to get fiercer. Applicants are encouraged to look at positions and build skills adjacent to instruction, such as instructional design and curriculum development.

“I suspect we will see some constriction in faculty hiring due to some flat and declining in enrollments that many saw in the fall,” said Dr. Bettyjo Bouchey, Vice Provost of Digital Strategy & Operations at National Louis University. “This (decline or flat growth in the fall) typically has a significant impact on the institution’s health more than any other enrollment period because those students attend for longer in the traditional academic (and financial) year. I do, however, expect that instructional design positions will continue to be in high demand.”

Expect More Demand for Hybrid Experience

To deal with the increase in competition, applicants should highlight their interpersonal, soft, and technical skills. Applicants can communicate through descriptions of their experiences as instructors or learners with evolving hybrid learning models.

“In my summation and experience of being a faculty member for 20 years, the framework of education is evolving, and the expectations for potential academic hires will center around technology,” said Nicole Wesley, Coordinator, Continuing Education in the Office of Distance and Extended Learning at Texas State University. “I envision learning environments that are both in-person and virtual, and prospective faculty will need to know how to navigate all aspects of hybrid learning. Engaged learning will be key, and with the access to online platforms, incoming faculty can provide their students with the most rich and relevant information.”

Expect to Create a More Comprehensive CV

What can applicants do to help experts like Dr. Bouchey and Nicole Wesley understand why they would be a good fit for the job? The traditional CV highlights academic experience, while more contemporary models emphasize soft skills and demonstrated character traits.

“I think that many faculty applicants focus on their academic credentials and past teaching experience, if applicable,” said Dr. Bouchey. “What we find most compelling, however, is those faculty who truly understand high-impact and inclusive teaching practice—those faculty attuned to student support and success. Highlighting this in your CV can be eye-catching. And, my personal bugaboo, please put your state of residence on your CV; I can’t stress that enough. For instructional designers, I would say something similar, but also include a philosophy about their approach to working with faculty towards excellent design that sets the stage for outstanding student experiences and performance.”

Applicants should expect to customize each application to demonstrate their preparation and research before applying to any position.

“Many times, in reviewing applications, it can be difficult to see their potential as many resumes and CVs are prescribed,” said Wesley. “Do your homework. Research the institution you are interviewing at and understand where your discipline is situated in the university org chart. Read and reread the job description, and don’t be afraid to reveal your authentic self when creating your resume. Those candid and truthful snippets of yourself really stand out when being reviewed. Being a faculty member is a body, mind, and spirit requirement, so consider approaching your application documents holistically.”

The academic job market has long been highly-competitive. The expected increase in competition for fewer jobs is matched by increases in how fast society approaches changes to education. In the academic job market of 2023, applicants must pay attention to the expert advice to emphasize soft skills, people skills, and tech skills in a comprehensive, customizable CV.

Disclosure Notice: Professor Services is a division of The Babb Group. Professor Services provides a full range of job search services to the academic, research, and scholarly communities. National Louis University and Texas State University are clients of The Babb Group.

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Kate Baggott is a digital content veteran. She is the current Head of Content and Communications for, The Babb Group and Professor Services.
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