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University Job Application: A Step-By-Step Guide & Top Tips

114 minutes of course content

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Course Description

Applying for a university job can be stressful and take a lot of time. The academic job market has become competitive and PhD graduates are finding it increasingly difficult to secure permanent academic positions.

What can also make applying for a university job difficult is the process of actually designing a job application. Here is why. Most of the advice you can find on the Internet on how to apply for jobs, how to write CVs and cover letters, does not apply to university jobs.

University job applications are different from other kinds of job applications in that they need to follow a specific formula. There are certain expectations at universities about how a proper university job application should look like.

And if your application does not meet those expectations, you will make the impression that you don’t fully understand the nature of a university job.

On the other hand, if your university job application demonstrates that you understand the rules, you will at least have a chance that your application will be fully considered and not rejected straight away.

Here is some good news: Every day there are new university jobs advertised and every day someone is successful in securing them.

About the Course Leader

I'm Kamil Zwolski, PhD. I have over 10 years’ experience of working at higher education institutions. I worked part-time at universities in Manchester and London, before securing a permanent post at the University of Southampton, which is in the top 1% of universities worldwide.

The beginnings were tough. My first teaching job was at the university where I was doing my PhD. Then I got a visiting lectureship at an American university, which had a campus in London, while I was still living in Manchester.

As I was doing those jobs, I kept submitting applications to get a permanent, full-time university post. Overall, it took me over 70 applications to get one eventually.

I’ve also learned a lot in the process, and my applications were improving over time. Over the years of working at a university, I’ve also gained experience of being on the other side of job applications.

As a member of selection panels, I have learned how a university job application should look like from the university perspective. Because of this experience, I believe that I am in a very good position to help you with your university job application.

With the 100% money back guarantee, there is no reason why you should not try the course out right now.


After taking this course, you will be able to:

  • How to properly read a university job advert.
  • How to use Job Description and Person Specification to your maximum advantage.
  • The exact formula for writing the cover letter for your university job application.
  • What and how to write in each section of your cover letter for maximum impact.
  • How long your cover letter should be.
  • What key questions should the introduction to your cover letter answer.
  • How to write about your research agenda if you don't have any academic publications yet.
  • How to paint a compelling story about your research that will get the selection panel interested.
  • How to explain your teaching philosophy even if you don't have yet a teaching experience.
  • Specific teaching strategies which will immediately signal that you know the subject of higher education teaching.
  • Where to quickly find information on more university teaching strategies.
  • What phrases NOT to use in your cover letter.
  • 10 tips for making your cover letter stand out.
  • How an academic CV is different from a non-academic CV.
  • How to structure your CV the exact way that is expected by the selection panel.
  • How to tailor your CV to the specific job you apply for.
  • What to do if you have applied for research funding in the past but were unsuccessful.
  • 9 tips for making your academic CV stand out.
  • How to complete a university job application form and what to be careful about.
  • Educate others about how to properly understand and analyse issues like Donald Trump's foreign policy, Brexit or Islamic terrorism.
  • Build complex arguments using theories and concepts such as system level, anarchy, balance of power, realism, liberalism, norms and values, social construction, bureaucratic behaviour, cognitive biases, and many more.
  • Critically assess the value of the daily news they read and watch.
  • Completely transform, with my Bonus Lecture and the Reading List, the way they approach their interest in international politics.

This course is for professionals within the following business functions:

  • "The purpose of this programme is to help you to become successful in applying for a university job."

    The way I am going to do it is I am going to explain, in great detail, the exact formula for designing a university job application for maximum impact.

    Yes, there is a formula for creating a university job application the right way. What does it mean 'the right way'? It simply means in the way which meets the expectations of the university selection panel.

    1. Introduction - 14 Minutes

      1.  What You Will Get From This Course
      2. 3 Types of Academic Posts
    2. How To Read a University Job Advert - 19 Minutes

      1.  How to Read an Advert
      2.  How to Read Job Description
      3. How to Read Person Specification
    3. Writing the Cover Letter for Maximum Impact - 48 Minutes

      1.  The Cover Letter Formula
      2. The Cover Letter Formula - Handout
      3. What to Write in the Introduction and Conclusion
      4. What to Write in the Introduction and Conclusion - Handout
      5.  What and How to Write in the ‘Research’ Section
      6. What and How to Write in the ‘Research’ Section - Handout
      7. What and How to Write in the ‘Education’ Section
      8. What and How to Write in the ‘Education’ Section - Handout
      9.  What to Write in the ‘Administration’ Section
      10.  What to Write in the ‘Administration’ Section - Handout
      11. 10 Tips for making Your Cover Letter Stand Out
    4. Writing and Tailoring Your Academic CV - 25 Minutes

      1. The Specific Nature of an Academic CV
      2.  How to Structure Your CV
      3. How to Structure Your CV - Handout
      4. Tailoring Your CV to the Job Application
      5. Tailoring Your CV to the Job Application - Handout
      6.  9 Tips for Making Your CV Stand Out
    5. Completing the Job Application Form - 8

      1.  How to Complete a Job Application Form
      2. How to Complete a Job Application Form - Handout

    About the Expert

    Kamil Zwolski, PhD

    Kamil Zwolski, PhD

    I am Associate Professor in International Politics at the University of Southampton, UK, and a Fellow of the UK’s Higher Education Academy, which promotes teaching excellence. I've got over 10 years experience of research and teaching in International Relations. I am currently working on my second book, which concerns European - Russian relations following the recent conflict in Ukraine. My research articles are published regularly in some of the world's leading academic journals. I teach hundreds of students every year, and in 2015 my efforts were recognized with a prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Award for innovation in teaching international politics. I am always friendly and approachable for my students, because I admire everyone open to learning new knowledge and skills.
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