I’m currently planning a session on getting the first lecturing job for research staff and a couple of things popped into my head while walking to work this morning that I thought may be useful to share (but this isn’t really about academic careers so bear with me if you’re not interested in that career route!).
Firstly, I was reminded of an article I read very briefly on the Times Higher Education website about Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU). It reported that GCU will be reducing financial and other support for researchers and lecturers who do not focus on any of their three new ‘priority areas’.
Secondly, I recollected a conversation I had recently with an academic working in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine (CMVM). They said that the last time CMVM interviewed for new academic members of staff many of the interview questions focussed on teaching experience and commitment to this (instead of research which you may have expected).
So why do I want to share this? Well, it illustrates the importance of knowing what is going on in an institution / sector to help make effective applications and to perform well at interview. If you were applying to Glasgow Caledonian University then it would be essential that you knew what their three priority areas are and how your research fits. For the University of Edinburgh you would want to know that we are developing a new vision for Learning and Teaching and that improving the results of the annual National Student Survey (where final year undergraduate students give feedback on their university experience) is very important to us. Knowing both of these things would give you a clue that there may be an emphasis on hiring academics who are enthusiastic teachers. This may be a slight shift away from the emphasis on research excellence that seemed to influence recruitment in the lead up to the recent REF (2014; research excellence framework).
It’s no different if you are applying for a non-academic job. You should understand what’s important to an employer, what is influencing them in the market, and as a result what they will be looking for from new employees. It’s all about doing your research thoroughly before making an application; research about the job, about the employer and about the market they are operating in. All of this allows you to demonstrate to an employer that you are motivated to work for them and that you’ve thought carefully about how you are a good fit for them.
For further information about how to market yourself effectively for all types of jobs go to our website.