Online Teaching Blog

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Teaching Online:  5 Tips to get Hired

Teaching Online: 5 Tips to get Hired

by Sheila Fry
January 20, 2016

Sheila Fry

Teaching online is exciting but can leave you with many questions. Deciding to adopt the adjunctpreneur® lifestyle and teaching online is very rewarding but can leave you with many questions. You aren't sure you can meet the expectations of hiring managers for your desired position. Do you have the education, skills and expertise to be considered a good fit at an institution and get hired?


More times than not the answer is probably yes, let's look at what these expectations are and what it takes to be grab a hiring manager's attention.

Expectations: In general, while some positions call for a terminal degree, hiring managers are looking for someone with at least a Masters Degree in their desired teaching area. If you find a potential position that requires a terminal degree, don't be afraid to submit your application even if your highest degree earned is a Masters. The terminal degree requirement may only be a preferred criteria. The hiring manager might find that you are a good fit for other reasons beyond your formal education.

In addition to the degree, a hiring manager will look for a mix of credentialed hours (typically 18) in your desired area along with a mix of your personal experience to assure that you are qualified and meet accreditation requirements for teaching a particular course area.

You will find that the timeline for hiring varies widely among institutions.

In a perfect world you would:

  • submit your application,
  • it would be reviewed immediately,
  • you would be interviewed and hired to teach the next session.

Unfortunately, that is not the typical timeframe for hiring. What is more likely is that your application will be reviewed within a 3-4 month timeframe (some don’t’ review for up to a year). The reality is that hiring managers may be looking to fill spaces for immediate needs, terms that begin several months down the road, or even to just add qualified applicants to pools where they can pull as-needed.

What you can do to give yourself a competitive edge:

  1. Make sure you have an updated CV and application materials that grab the hiring manager’s attention and that it is in a format that will make the reader want to hire you now!
  2. Make sure your cover letter highlights your valued skills and creates interest in you! Don't get too wordy but focus on your key attributes that make you stand out from the rest!
  3. Apply often! If you applied to an institution and it's six months later and you didn't hear anything---apply again! Keep your CV at the top of their list! Getting hired online is a numbers game, especially to get your first position. Depending on your specialization area, it can take 80-100 applications to obtain your first interview or position. That can seem like an extreme number but it is valid. So don't get discouraged, just keep on applying. It takes hard work and dedication to get that first online teaching gig and the work continues as you expand your school base.
  4. Cast a wide net in terms of the fields that you apply. While teaching leadership courses at a non-profit state university may be your true calling, you may be credentialed to teach in many other areas. Other areas where you could potentially teach include business, marketing, management or human resources. Applying in those areas increases your chances of getting hired and getting your foot in the door at that institution.
  5. Don’t limit yourself to certain types of institutions. Again, think of it as a launching pad for your whole career. As you add more institutions and more experience you can always shift to your desired types of institutions later on. For example, you be happily surprised that while you originally wanted to teach graduate level material at a state university that you enjoy the personalized nature of teaching at a community college.

All in all, remember that good things come to those who wait. It may take some time but your hard work and due diligence to the process will pay off. Start now and take a look at your education and background to see what areas you may be qualified to teach.

Your goals and desires are within your reach---follow the tips and soon you will be well on your way to teaching online!