• By Cheryl Hyatt, Carrie Butler

Jobs on the rise, but ultra-competitive market means applicants must be sharper than ever - Part One

A tight economy hasn't been kind to individuals seeking higher ed jobs in recent years. The economy hasn't been improving at a rate fast enough to accommodate the multitudes seeking administrative or management jobs at colleges and universities. According to the latest HigherEdJobs report, the number of positions in higher education was up for the first quarter of 2015 by about 3,200 positions over last year, but the increase pales when compared to 57,500 higher ed jobs lost from the third quarter of 2013 to the second quarter of 2014.

The pros at Hyatt-Fennell Executive Search offer some considerations to help today's academic professional to be both realistic and strategic about a job search or change in a tough and particularly competitive market.

Differentiate yourself with advanced degrees and career relevant training

Market conditions have driven many adjuncts with PhD’s to a search for full-time positions. What’s more, those seeking professional, non-teaching positions in higher education must have a Master’s Degree, and most colleges and universities want successful candidates to hold a terminal degree.

Having a Bachelor’s, or Associate’s Degree is no longer enough. Job seekers need to be aware that the hiring process in colleges and universities differs from the hiring process in business. When seeking a senior-level position and interacting with faculty, students, and administrative individuals, expect to be interviewed by a search committee that could comprise five or more individuals with doctorate or master's credentials.

Even with an advanced degree, serious candidates need something more to land a desirable position in higher education. Consider memberships, professional networks, and certifications in new and innovative areas to become more marketable than anyone else.