Recently, I asked Seth Odell (@sethodell) of Higher Ed Live, during his show, what advice he had for getting a job in communications for higher education. He said that it can be tough to get into but that I higher ed institutions hire people from outside the industry and that once I’m in, I’m in due to how much collaboration and networking there is in higher ed (at least when it comes to communication and marketing).
I absolutely found that true when I started out working at Mount Allison University and found that collaboration, especially in LinkedIn groups was simply astounding at the time. People at institutions across North America shared their accomplishments, asked interesting questions, and helped each other with practical advice.
I can foresee the positive sense of community increasing once I find permanent work in higher ed communications.
The hard part is getting a foot in the door somewhere to start out and not get pigeonholed into a “Writer” position. The latter doesn’t seem to be an issue as there seems to be a lot of employee turnover in higher ed communications. Ron Bronson said, in the above mentioned #HigherEdLive show, that moving around is a strong option for people who don’t see room for advancement in their current position.
I’ve also branched out into things like #EMchat for Enrollment Management (think admissions and retention) to see what job requirements are like in that area of higher ed.
I’ve joined eduniverse, and began following/re-following crucial Twitter accounts like @eduwebconf, @SMCBoston, @HighEdWeb, @CASEAdvance, @eduguru, @insidehighered, @HigherEdJobs, @chronicle, @mikepetroff, @EricStoller, and others.
Depending on financing and how my job search is going, I hope to attend the The PRSA 2013 Counselors to Higher Education (CHE) Senior Summit in Washington, DC and/or #PSUWeb13 in State College, PA to learn and *gasp* network to find helpful colleagues and a potential employer.
So in the end there’s not a whole lot that’s new. I’ve found exactly zero job postings for communications related positions in higher ed that start when I need to have a job (June 3, 2013). I’ll continue talking with as many knowledgable/helpful people I can in hopes of being the best prepared as I can be when I formally begin applying for jobs probably in April.