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I recently immigrated to the USA. I have over 20 years of experience in academia (management and faculty). I have responded to job postings that are online. How can I get my resume and cover letter noticed specially as foreign qualifications and foreign experience is concerned?

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  • This isn't really an Academia question. Every job applicant has this question, for academia or not. Commented May 2, 2023 at 3:01
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    The OP is asking about adjucnting, which accounts for 40-50% of courses taught in the US. The OP is not asking how to write a CV and cover letter in general, but specifically for adjunct positions.
    – Cheery
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 13:49

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I concur with @ThomasSchwarz that the most important thing to note on the application is that you have already immigrated and have a work visa. Without that, your application is most likely to be ignored.

We hire lots of adjuncts in my department. In terms of qualifications, the most important thing is teaching experience. Everybody thinks they can teach, but few can. We are wary of inexperienced teachers, and when forced to hire one (say, no one else applied), we often regret it. So write your CV around your teaching experience: the exact courses you have taught, if those courses had labs, what was your role (assistant, instructor-of-record, etc.), if you wrote the syllabus, selected textbook, etc., the level of the course (1st year, graduate, etc.) The more details, the better.

A little-used secret in getting adjunct positions is that, if you don't get the position, to tell the department chair to put you on the stand-by list. It often happens that departments need adjuncts last-minute, because of sickness, unannounced retirement, professors moving to another university or taking admin positions, other adjuncts dropping out at the last minute, etc. If you made a comprehensive list on your CV of classes you have taught, chances are you'll get a desperate call in late August asking if you can teach a class starting the following week. Once you prove yourself as an effective teacher, you are almost guaranteed to be called the following semesters.

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  • That tip is much appreciated. Thank you. My feeling is that there's a lot of information and presentation that gets left out in a resume or a cover letter which gets covered in an interview. Also the keywords vary from country to country. so maybe the recruiter might not get the right impression from the resume or the cover letter. is it possible to share my resume and cover letter with you so you can give me a more informed judgement. I know its asking a lot and i apologize. i just don't want to make a mistake and be out in the cold for an entire year. Thank you. Commented May 2, 2023 at 23:35
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You are already doing the most important thing. Each discipline has slightly different ways of announcing academic vacancies. Also, have you noticed that many academic institutions now advertise vacancies and searches on their website?

(1) Make your visa status very clear on your Resume. While easier than in industry, hiring someone without the equivalence of citizenship / green card is more complicated, requires documentation, and smaller places are not set up to do it well. (2) Translate your qualifications / job titles yourselves. Most institutions are familiar with foreign qualifications. (3) Accents are a big worry when hiring someone for teaching. Make sure you include a phone number so that people can hear you talk, if they want to.

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  • Much obliged Mr Thomas. You are correct about the accent issue. on the accent issue im fine. i was attending the linked in presentations for the past two days and they were adamant that connections make a difference. and i still have to make connections here. thank you for putting my mind at ease about other relevant factors. Much appreciated. Commented May 2, 2023 at 23:28

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