An academic position in a higher institution of learning is arguably one of the best career path. Apart from the not-too-bad financial rewards (which is probably, what you thought is most important, dead wrong!), there is a prestige is being called an Academic. Holding a faculty position, in a university is a honour of great measure. Beyond that, many academic/lecturers set their job schedule for either classes or research. They travel often, and hold a global connection with fellow lecturers. Such fleixibility is rare in many other careers. Despite these pull, you may have wondered, why it is difficult getting fixed-in, to start that career as a University Lecturer.
How to get the dream lecturing job
Some of this tips are applicable to Nigeria, but can be helpful, no matter where you are.
- Know the Minimum Entry Certificate: A university is a very formal institution, and requires its staff to be trained in a specialized field. You would need at least a Master degree, with a prospect of continuing to PhD, to be considered. A research Master degree, with a grade point in upper percentile is the aim. To increase your opportunity to getting a lecturing job, better be patient and complete a Doctorate. While this is a longer way to go, its surely pays off. Actually, I have not met a PhD holder who is unemployed. Though it is also true that a fresh graduate can get a lecturing job as a Graduate Assistant, such chances are usually for First class graduates, and it doesn’t come all the time. So be prepared, you must go the long haul, to make a career as a university lecturer. It surely requires time and commitment.
- Be in the University System: This is a no brainer, it is easier to get a lecturing job, when you are within the campus, than from outside. By inside, I mean, either as a student or non academic staff. In fact, you could be a staff on the faculty of the university, but not on the desired role or level. Head of Department and Faculty/College deans meet to discuss staff shortages. With the Vice chancellor’s approval, lecturing job openings are filled, even without advertisement. These Professors would rather recommend and recruit their brilliant postgraduate students, than an outsider. Getting a lecturing job from with in also means having your ears on ground. Make friends with people privy to information, before they are posted to the university’s website.
- Take Part-time Lecturing Jobs: Its easier getting a part time position as a lecturer. Look around for distance learning programmes. This can be for a College of Education, Polytechnic or a University. While the work may be burdensome, with no commensurate pay, you will get invaluable experience. On your C.V, lecturing experience can put you ahead of competitors for the same position. It doesn’t matter, if the experience is from a part time school or not, as long as it is verifiable. Some part-time/ distance learning school hold on weekends, while others are during the holidays (sand wish programme).
- Network through Former Lecturers: Networking is a time tested method to get jobs, not even only lecturing Job. In this case, your former university teachers will be good recommendation for you, especially in another University. Universities lecturers in the same specialization know each other pretty well, as they meet at conferences. A versitile professor would have solid contact in at least three other university. Such a persons name, not just on the C.V, but giving you a heads-in is a big plus to getting the lecturing job. Imagine, how blessed you will be, having about three to four of such networks. It helps beyond measure.
- Attend Conferences and Publish in Journal: The number of conferences attended, and impact factor journal published is the most visible sign of a hardworking scholar. Getting the dream lecturing job would be just so easy.
Dream lecturing job: It can be a reality
Combination of the above tip the the following will be helpful.
- Have a positive mindset
- Have a good C.V/resume, stating academic awards, conference attended and journal papers published.
- Use academic staff, preferable a high ranking professor as referee. Its good you put the on notice too.
- Submit your work to journal search and list site like Google Scholar’s Academia
- Visit academic job boards, preferably, Postgraduate Nigeria