Higher ed exec searches often hindered by wordy, poorly written submissions
- Too frequently, executives applying for high-level positions are submitting cover letters and vitae with typos and misinformation embedded in seemingly endless text.
- Excessive information makes even the best submission difficult to read through — and frustrating for search committee members who value time and the ability to quickly target qualifications in candidates.
- Reading position announcements carefully and responding to each point listed in the announcement improves the chances of being named as a finalist.
Academic writing is often lampooned in popular culture, but excessively bad academic writing often disqualifies candidates quicker than a lack of credentials or institutional fit. Candidates seeking executive appointments should choose brevity in their cover letters and vitae, while including information that makes committee members easily see potential fit with university culture and mission.
Committee members make recommendations for the hiring of the person who will be a good fit and help advance their own ambitions. They want to make sure that candidates are people with whom they can work well and share common goals for student and research outcomes.
This is an important lesson for current leaders who may be grooming successors or cabinet members for future appointments — being concise and attentive to search elements says a lot about the ability of a candidate to effectively adjust in leading a department, college or institution at large.
Candidates should allow their credentials to create the first impression of being approachable, not overly academic or inaccessible to the faculty they are hoping to manage.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education The best candidates read the ad