Online Teaching Blog

Best practices, tips & tricks, and career advice—served up fresh

Online Faculty Jobs: 6 Differentiators For Job Candidates

Online Faculty Jobs: 6 Differentiators For Job Candidates

by Dani Babb
April 14, 2015

Online faculty jobs are not easy to come by. When you find a position you would love to have, differentiating yourself to human resources, the hiring manager or the dean is crucial. In some cases, a dean may receive dozens of applications; and if the job is advertised on a big job board that number could be several hundred. At The Babb Group, we look for patterns to identify what is working for our clients and what is not. This article addresses six differentiators in the job search.


You see the perfect online faculty job come into your inbox from our job leads. You know we do not rely on the big job boards for our leads, so you are getting a lead far fewer people know about. You want so badly to click the link and apply immediately, but you stop and think:

Am I qualified? What are the other candidates going to look like on paper? Should I really apply?

Those days you spend contemplating may mean someone else gets the job (and yes, you should apply even if you aren't fully qualified on paper - sometimes job listings are "nice-to-have" lists or there are other positions open you aren't aware of!)

Through our years of offering services to online professors, we have noticed patterns and differentiators that help our candidates get jobs. Of course the usual suspects are involved: a detailed curriculum vita, a great cover letter, transcripts and letters of recommendation in order. Your education and experience obviously play a huge role in your overall qualifications for a position. But there are other factors that are less obvious we have found have helped our clients.

Here are the six less identified factors that have impacted the results our clients have in their job search, in no particular order:

  1. Social Media Profiles. You have heard me say it before, but a dean or hiring manager will likely search for you on the Internet before your interview. Not only do you need social media profiles, but you need to control what the profiles say about you. If you are applying at a faith based institution, you probably don't want that profile pic of you, your dog and a brew in hand. Create privacy on your social media channels, and pages made for public consumption where you control the flow of information. Use hashtags and post often. Twitter, Facebook Pages and LinkedIn are crucial. If you need help, check out what we offer
  2. Consumer friendly publications. Yes, academic publications are huge in our field. Of course full professor positions, tenure track positions and even adjuncts are held in higher regard when they publish academically. But publishing in our fields matters too. How? Write blog articles for others, publish in magazines, respond to media queries, and ask to be a guest writer for sites you read often.
  3. Educational training. So let's say you work at ABC University which makes you take an annual sexual harassment prevention training. You have an educational training section on your CV right? (yes you do..and if you don't, you do now!) Add it. Along with whether a certificate was issued.
  4. Community service. Showing leadership in your community and an interest in social issues is not only a good thing to do, but it shows your sense of responsibility as a citizen. This is never, ever a bad thing. I have seen clients get jobs because the charity or volunteer work they were interested in was similar to the volunteer work their boss was also interested in.
  5. Instructional Design or Curriculum Design. Instructional design is a specialization that usually falls under Education. It's a subject and discipline unto itself. However, a lot of faculty serve as curriculum or course creators, and this serves to show your ability to organize information, stay current in your field, meet timelines and deadlines, work with a team at the university and present the best curriculum to students. If you have this experience, I recommend you list it in attributes and within each school section as Other Service.
  6. Synchronous Tools. More schools are starting to use synchronous technology and hold office hours, live with video. If you have experience doing this (and are not synchronous-averse), note this in attributes, in the software section on your CV, and in your second paragraph of your teaching philosophy statement identifying how you carry out your philosophy in the classroom. Deans get such pushback from so many faculty about synchronous sessions that reading a candidate does it and is okay with it is often a competitive advantage.

You never know when you will need more work, be right-sized, down-sized, have a life event requiring additional income or just want or need a change in your work. By being prepared and keeping your files current, you will be ready to apply to the perfect opportunities when they present themselves.

Now please share! What unique attribute have you found helped your job search or advancement in the interview process? What unusual differentiator helped you get that job?