Common Academia & Higher Education Resume MistakesJanuary 13, 2022
Is it your dream to become a college professor and earn tenure? It’s an ambitious goal to have that takes hard work and years of schooling. Once you have achieved the required education, securing a job in higher education may take effort because of the competitive environment. To help land a position, you should have an effective higher education resume. But do you know how to write an academic resume that makes you stand out among the crowd? Here, we will provide some do’s and don’ts to follow when preparing your resume for a professor position. We will also provide information on how to contend with student loan debt since many college professors face large balances when they begin their careers.
Path to Become a College Professor
Before you get to the point of needing a resume and Curriculum Vitae (CV) to apply for a college professor position, you have probably already earned a college degree, a master’s degree, and a doctorate degree. These are basic requirements that you will need to include on your resume.
But to make your resume and CV stand out, you should include your accomplishments. For example, many students in graduate school may take on a Teaching Assistant (TA) position to get some hands-on experience and receive a small salary. Including these positions on your CV and any significant contributions you made are beneficial. While working towards your doctorate, if you had your research published in any form, be sure to include those details on your CV.
When you are in school, you may be busy keeping up with research demands and trying to get published. Still, it is essential to keep detailed records of any awards you received and publications where your work has appeared. When it comes time to prepare an outstanding resume for a professor position, having detailed records of your achievements will make it easier to prepare.
Resume and CV
A CV and a resume are beneficial for a professor position since they can be used for different purposes. You may need a resume at the beginning of your search for a professor position, while you may need to submit a CV later on. In addition, you may be required to submit a CV when applying for grants or for a position at a university where research is the focus. Either way, utilize these tips for both necessary documents.
How to Write An Academic Resume
Now that you have detailed records of what you have accomplished, here are some tips to follow as you prepare your higher education resume and CV:
- Keep the design simple. If you use a resume or CV template, try to pick one with minimal design elements. The focus should be on the written words, not a distracting design. Use a standard font and size throughout the document and keep it uniform.
- Make it easy to read. In the competitive environment of academic positions, hundreds of resumes or CVs may be scanned to narrow them down for further review. Make your resume or CV easily scannable while still highlighting your work and accomplishments. Although you should generally keep your resume to one or two pages, a CV may be multiple pages since it will include a list of your publications. Utilize page numbers to make it easy to read if pages get mixed up.
- Follow chronological order. For the different sections of your resume and CV, you should include degrees, publications, awards, and other dates in chronological order, with the most recent at the top. If your document is reviewed quickly, you want the reader to know the most recent achievements. For your CV and your list of publications, it also helps the reader to not mistake a publication date from years ago as your latest published work rather than your first published date.
- Highlight your accomplishments. Especially for your CV, be sure to include details of achievements rather than everyday tasks you completed in a position.
- Don’t have mistakes. Any typos or grammatical errors may be easy to miss if you re-read your resume and CV multiple times. Have another set of eyes take a look to be sure you have not missed anything. You don’t want your resume to stand out for a mistake rather than your accomplishments.
- Don’t leave it stale. Keep your resume and CV up to date with any new titles, roles, publications, duties, and other achievements. Keeping it up to date will help you be ready if you ever want to apply for a new position or grant.
- Don’t have just one. Tailor your resume and CV to the position and institution you are applying for or the grant you are seeking. Some parts of your resume or CV may need to be eliminated or highlighted more, depending on the circumstances.
Tackling Student Loan Debt When Employed in Academia
Once you have your higher education resume completed and have landed a position in academia, you may be ready to tackle your student loan debt. While a job in higher education can eventually lead to a higher salary, if you have the average student loan debt, you may be wondering how easy it is to pay off the balance quickly.
The average student loan debt total for a PhD graduate in 2021 was $159,625. Since most college professors have a PhD, many are facing similar student loan debt balances. The balance may not seem manageable when you are just beginning a career as a postsecondary teacher. Based on the latest information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a college professor in 2020 was $80,560 per year. This salary varies based on the subject taught and type of institution, private versus public and university versus community college.
If you are looking for assistance to pay off student loans, student loan refinancing could help reduce your interest costs and speed up the repayment process. When refinancing student loans, you borrow a new loan to pay off previous student loans.
Student Loan Refinancing for Academia Professionals
Various factors affect refinancing, and based on these, many people employed in higher education are strong candidates for student loan refinancing.
- Low debt-to-income ratio: You may have a large amount of student loan debt, but if you have a high earning salary, the ratio may be low enough to qualify for a low-interest rate.
- High credit score: The higher your credit score is, the better your chance of receiving the lowest interest rates possible.
- Current interest rate: If you obtained student loans when your credit history or credit score was not as strong as they are currently, you could have a better chance of qualifying for a lower interest rate now.
Refinance Your Student Loans with ELFI
If you are ready to take charge of your student loan debt, ELFI offers student loan refinancing.* We offer low competitive interest rates, and there is no application fee to apply. If you are interested in what your personal savings could be, you can apply to get prequalified with no impact on your credit.
A variety of benefits exist for student loan refinancing. Besides the possible savings in interest costs over the life of the loan, you may be able to lower your monthly payment. Refinancing can also allow you to shorten your loan term length and pay your loans off earlier. If you have multiple student loans, refinancing is one way to consolidate multiple loans into one for easier management and payment. Plus, if you have a cosigner on a student loan, refinancing can allow you to remove the cosigner from the loan. If you are ready to get an estimate of how much you can save, use our student loan refinancing calculator.
Once you have learned how to write an academic resume and implemented these tips, you will be on your way to earning a salary in a higher education position. Focusing on your student loan debt can be easier with refinancing student loans.