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Online Adjunct Job Tips: In The Trenches Advice from Professors

Online Adjunct Job Tips: In The Trenches Advice from Professors

by Dani Babb
March 09, 2015

The average number of applications our clients report needing to fill out or send in per interview is 80 to 120, depending on experience, education and a host of other factors. We asked online professors to summarize their online adjunct job tips for those looking for work and compiled them in this article.

We have a very active group contributing to online adjunct job tips on our Facebook forum. I recently asked the group,

what are your best tips related to getting an online adjunct job, specifically?


As you may already know, the average number of job applications it takes per interview in today’s market is 80 to 120, and that can vary with experience, education, area of expertise and a little bit of luck – not to mention the quality of the files you submit for review. Our goal is to help clients achieve interviews faster and more efficiently through feedback from professors, administrators and clients. Here are the responses from other professors that may help you in your own online adjunct job search!

Please use the link above to see the authors and their original comments!


  • Use an expandable alpha sorter file to keep job application file sheets in to monitor results and make notes – reapply in 3 to 4 months if needed.

Apply, apply, apply and apply again. Be patient. Apply again.

  • Have all of your documents together in one easily accessible place because you never know when an application is going to ask for that fourth grade transcript. Additionally, keep a running file of questions answered on applications so you can build a library of responses; no sense reinventing the wheel every time.
  • Be a professional at all times in a how work is done and the way you public image is portrayed through your actions. Surround yourself with people who have strengths that you do not excel in and learn from their strengths how to be better by raising the level of leadership around you. Guard your attitude about the nature and challenges of the work so passion is not lost to bitterness and resentment about what did not go your way. Find things to be thankful for and someone to express gratitude to every day if possible to feed your spirit with positive energy. Continue to learn and use your ability to grow professionally and personally. Value your students who are the source of your ability to express your gift and continue to teach. Identify those that can be helped and do your best to invest in the success of another person. Manage your personal life, health, mental health, stress, fitness, and diet to be your best. (IMHO)
  • Use an Excel document to keep track of all things related to each application, to include date applied, dates of follow up contacts, list of documents sent, responses received, extra questions asked, names/numbers of courses you’re willing to teach for that school, HR email addresses, department chair email, name etc.
  • Follow up with HR managers and hiring chairs, don't just rely on a highly competitive indeed or higheredjob search, rely on networking and cold searches of open positions which are not advertised to the masses. Know your audience and don't apply the same way to every school. Community colleges, universities and the career technical/for profit schools all operate differently with very different hiring needs. Not every school wants a scholar, some just want an industry person looking to teach for ONE school for extra income etc. do your homework to learn more about the school before you apply to ensure you are speaking their language.
  • I use an app called 'index cards' on my iPhone to track each place. I put relevant notes on the 'cards', color code them based on things such as new application, in process, first approval, etc... and then keep them in stacks. Based on what category they are, I then open a stack and make follow up calls and add more notation. Works well.
  • Respond quickly to any institutional contacts or queries. Model professionalism and confident competency in those interactions; make sure that you don't come across as needy, clueless, belligerent, or obnoxious.
  • In interviews, don't be too restrained, conventional, or conservative: display your passion for helping others to learn

One more tip for applicants: PROOFREAD

  • In interviews, ask probing questions to understand the school's financial health, academic culture, and quality of faculty life.
  • Interviews are two-way affairs and it is in your interest to gain information from the school about whether the job is a good fit for your needs and interests.

For a lot of reasons, don't address your cover letter to "Dear Sir"...but mostly because it often is a ma'am who is reading it.

  • Apply aggressively to hundreds of jobs (not dozens) in all subjects in which you are qualified to teach. Consider outsourcing the filling of applications forms so that you can get your application materials in front of more hiring managers than would be possible if you were limited to filling out application forms during your free time.
  • Save all of your discussion board and email responses. You can always customize and use them again in the future.
  • Before applying, have a well-qualified, objective outsider review all of your application materials to give you a frank understanding of opportunities to improve your self-presentation. Don't skip this or rely on a friend or family member who may not be objective: pay a professional to identify all weaknesses in your self-presentation so you can address then before they away hiring managers.
  • Target your cover letter to the actual institution rather than use a generic one. HR knows it is easy to blanket the job market and provided you make it past the robo-screen, a cover letter that shows you have read their website often gets more attention than a generic one. Realize that the different systems to upload information may or may not marginally reformat your vita, etc. It is often worth sending a scan if it is not apparent that a word doc is a format they use. The trouble with scans is that the file is bigger and some systems have a limit to the max you can upload per item and/or the max you can upload for the entire application. Have several versions of your documents. I have a range of teaching evals and I only send the ones that target the classes they are looking to fill and then just a few more from other classes that have especially useful/informative student comments. While you can pay someone to robo it for you, and likely you'll get a job just due to sheer numbers of applications you send out, you may need to send out far less if you specifically target what you send to a school and write to their website, mission statement, and department information.


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