Are you a professor?

Congratulations for your career success this far. You can still achieve more.

That means you should look into your resume and update it. But you have to do more than just updating it.

You have to ensure that the format of your resume is right and that you’ve written the right thing.

If you’ve been working for some time, meaning you haven’t been on the job market, you may be surprised by the changes in the HR industry.

Probably the biggest change is that Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are now more common than they were five years ago. They have become more affordable and basic so nearly all companies are using them.

The benefits are also immense—from the employer’s perspective obviously. This, as the challenges increase on your side.

Applicant Tracking Systems filter out very many documents so as to give the hiring manager an easy time. Time is an expensive resource and companies are looking to save on it. The hiring process also gets more expensive with time.

It therefore makes sense for companies to try and hire quickly.

So, looking for a job now means beating the Applicant Tracking System and wowing the hiring manager.

Can you do this?

In this article, we focus on writing a resume that will wow the hiring manager. We tell you what to write and how to write it.

THE MOST IMPORTANT SECTIONS OF A RESUME

Your resume serves a very simple purpose, that of introducing and giving important information about you. All the same, writing it isn’t as simple as the purpose.

The competitive nature of the job market makes things even more challenging. You write your resume wrongly and you fail to get the job. You probably fail to even get noticed.

Modern resumes are made up of sections, each providing specific information. They provide information about a particular aspect of you or your qualification.

All in all, the resume will be seeking to convince its reader of your suitability.

Although there can be many sections in any resume, there are at least five which are of most importance. These are the personal information, work experience, education, skills and summary sections.

We will look at each of these sections individually. We will also show you examples of how not to write and how to write those sections. This will help you correct any mistakes you’ll realize you had made in your resume.

Personal information

This section is responsible for introducing you to the hiring manager. As such, it contains the personal information which is needed to contact you in case you’re picked for the interview.

Several pieces of information are necessary for introduction purposes. Let’s look at these.

  • Your official name – the name you write on your resume must be your official name. This is your identity and you need to be careful how you communicate it. No matter what you do, don’t write your nick name here.
Thomas 'Geek' McConnel
Wrong
Thomas McConnel
Right

Your name should be in a bigger font compared to the rest of the resume.

Also, you have the freedom to use a different color for your name instead of black. Widely-acceptable colors are blue, green and orange. Just ensure that the specific shade is easy on the eyes.

  • Your passport-size photo – it’s not a must that you include a photo of yourself. However, it helps with the identification when the hiring manager sees a picture of the applicant. If you’ve taken a good picture, then it can contribute in getting you selected for an interview.
Pro Tip
Pro tip:

Do not take a selfie for your resume picture. Use a modern professional camera. Ensure the background is plain and put on a smile. You have to look both professional and friendly.

  • Physical address – your physical address is important. Including it in your resume helps the hiring manager know how far from the company you live. This helps in making decision in terms of how fast you can be available at work.

On your side, it can be a consideration during salary negotiations.

You can ask for a higher allowance to cover for transport.

Maybe the company provides transport for the staff or they can give you a company car. Your physical address is helpful to both parties.

  • Email address – this is an important part of your identity. It’s also the most likely way you’ll receive your job offer and appointment letter in case you’re selected. As such, you have to provide a working email address.

Moreover, the same way your photo has to be professional, so does your email address. It should reflect your true identity thus you have to use your official name.

Unprofessional email address: johnhunkpunk10@ymail2.com
Wrong
Professional email address: johnmichael@yahoo.com
Right
  • Mobile number – together with your email address, your mobile number forms the means by which you can be contacted. One of the biggest advantages of providing your mobile number is the convenience of being easily and quickly contacted.

Whereas you may not have immediate access to your email, rarely will you be away from your mobile phone. Any urgent communication can thus be received and responded to quickly.

  • Social media links – these are not necessary but helpful, especially if your social media pages are cleaned up. The primary link to provide is LinkeIn. You can also choose to include Facebook and Twitter. Most hiring managers will look you up online anyway.

Work experience

Very few roles in the market require little or no work experience. Such positions are usually open for filling by interns.

Some companies may however not have specific internship programs but may hire employees with no work experience and train them.

The roles being filled will however be less technical; requiring little expertise. This is a great learning experience though it may not apply to you.

Being a professor, you have lots of experience in working in your field of expertise. Even if you’re an adjunct, you still have some experience worth mentioning to the hiring manager.

In communicating your work experience, you can either talk about tasks and responsibilities or accomplishments. Either of these can work but generally, accomplishments are the best.

Tasks and responsibilities create room for guesswork and assumptions and this is not good. You are basically saying that you did many things though the results are not easily visible.

Accomplishments on the other hand work differently and better. They focus on the results you brought about through your employment. They also show the changes you introduced and tell the story of your employment better.

Numbers are used in communicating accomplishments. Mention what the situation was like before you came in and the new numbers by the time you left. Here is an example of how that can look like.

The wrong way of writing your work experience

Worked well with other team members and ensured patients were well treated. Kept patient records and ensured they were updated and available for doctors as well as other nurses.

Wrong
The right way of writing your work experience

  • Managed a team of 4 doctors and 3 nurses
  • Checked on patients at least 3 times per shift
  • Maintained records of over 50 patients
  • Helped improve teamwork through good communication

Right

Education

Apart from your work experience, your education levels also help you communicate your abilities. Even in cases where you don’t have any work experience, your education can provide some boost to your application.

As a professor, you have lots of education to show off. The many hours you’ve spent learning and the time spent doing research is valuable. The only thing you have to do is communicate it as such.

As you mention what school you went to and the course you did, you can also include a few of the key units you studied. This is however not a must though can be done.

At the same time, you don’t have to list all the schools you attended and the courses and grades you attained.

Generally, the most recent education level is fine. In most cases, starting from the bachelor’s degree is acceptable.

In some cases, the school you attended can also boost your suitability.

It’s also important to know that you should write about your education in reverse chronological order. Start with your most recent education level, similar to what you do with your work experience.

If you have any special certifications or got admitted into the board of an influential association, include that.

Skills

Your education and work experience are important. But that’s not all. You also need to communicate your skills to the hiring manager.

Your skills show your abilities. Some of them are natural others are learned. All these make up your uniqueness and your mix of skills can make you stand out from the crowd.

Some skills are common while others are quite unique. Mention the most important ones.

If they’re many, select a few strategic ones.

Look at the job you’re applying for and list the skills which are closely related to the job description provided.

Below are some skills you can mention which are in line with the job of a professor.

You can replace these with your own skills. In case you think a certain skill is important but you don’t have it, learn it fast. Buy a book about the skill or do some reading online.

  • Evaluation – professors must have evaluation skills. You’ll be critiquing your students and grading them. From your interaction with them, you should be able to see beyond their words. This helps you understand them and improve their success rates.
  • Communication – there is no role in the job market which does not require communication skills. Even factory workers who don’t communicate with customers are still expected to have communication skills. This helps them communicate well with their colleagues.

As a professor, you’ll be communicating with many people. From students to lecturers, maybe even government agencies and parents. As such, your communication must be above board.

You must be able to project your voice in class so that those at the back can hear you. For good communication, you need to develop your people skills.

  • Flexibility – being a professor is no joke. There are many sacrifices to be made and the number of hours to be worked might be many. You might also be expected to teach in different campuses.

You should therefore be able to work long hours, handle different shifts and still maintain some cheer. It’s critical to have a positive attitude and be passionate about your job.

  • Leadership – leadership skills are vital for any professor since the position itself is one of leadership. Moreover, you’ll need to take charge of the class and give direction to the students.

Weak leadership could result in chaos and confusion thus affecting learning. Since you’re also supposed to lead by example, the students will have little inspiration to learn from you if they can’t admire how you handle everything around teaching.

  • Organization – with a busy schedule and tight deadlines, you must be a pro at organizing your life. Time management is a must. Organizing your files and teaching materials is necessary, especially since, if you are an adjunct, you may not have official office space.

You can’t afford going to the lecture hall looking confused. The students will see it and that will be a disservice to them.

  • Critical thinking – as a professor, you’re not just a teacher, but an expert. You’ve done lots of studies and research and have a lot of knowledge to share. This is also exactly what students expect—that you can answer virtually any question.

What happens when you’re asked a question outside the syllabus? What if a student questions the logic behind the reasoning you’re teaching? You should be able to think on your feet and answer accordingly so as to inspire your students.

Summary section

This is the last part of your resume we’re discussing. The summary is a very important part which is meant to summarize what your resume is saying.

When the hiring manager reads it, she’s supposed to know what value you’re bringing to the company. This helps her make a quick decision about you since she sees what you’ve done elsewhere.

There is an alternative of this called the career objectives.

These tell the hiring manager what you look forward to doing or achieving in your new job.

You can use this to show how dedicated, hardworking and results-oriented you are. The challenge however, is that the hiring manager may not be reading your resume from your perspective.

As a person expected to make the best decision for the company, she may be wondering what you bring to the company and not what you get from it.

This has fueled a discussion among hiring managers and the preferred thing to write is the summary. So, if you were to write objectives, consider changing your mind.

You can also turn your resume duties into accomplishments.

Resume summaries should also be written in a way that will increase your odds. Instead of just talking of what you’ve achieved in the past, use numbers to paint the picture.

Compare the below two examples:

Wrong way of writing your resume summary

I have been working for almost five years as an adjunct professor of law. I have helped develop curriculum and participated in training of lecturers to improve the student learning experience. I have a record of timely grading of assignments and have also helped develop an online learning system.

Wrong
Right way of writing your resume summary

  • Helped develop an online learning system which increased the number of students by 70%
  • Implemented strategies which improved faculty performance by up to 45%
  • Introduced a new system which reduced by 20% the time taken to develop new curriculum
  • Trained a total of 25 lecturers to help improve the lecturer-student ratio by 40%

Right

There’s a big difference between the above two examples. Although they’re both communicating the same thing, the second format is more reader-friendly. It also captures the most important details well.

Numbers always attract attention more than words.

Also note the use of bullet points. The first example is short enough to be read quickly. But the second, though taking more space on paper, doesn’t actually seem long. It’s as though you’re only being told four things. Four brief facts.

Watch the below video for tips on writing your resume summary.

RESUME EXAMPLES

We promised to give you examples of resumes and here they are. One is of an adjunct professor of law and the other for a clinical professor.

Check out how they’ve been written and see how you should include your information on your improved resume.

For an easier time writing your resume, use our resume builder.

Adjunct professor of law resume

Right

Clinical professor resume

Right

CONCLUSION

Despite the high competition among professors, you can stand out from the crowd. The much you’ve achieved shows your dedication and passion. These are qualities which will help you move higher.

Knowing how to write your resume, send it out confidently and enjoy the rest of your career.

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