I am looking to apply for a teaching position near my town at a local community college. It's a part time position teaching mathematics (and from my research its up to highschool/first year calculus).

I am currently a PhD student and have never applied for an academic position like this. The job posting only requires a resume/cover letter and nothing about a teaching philosophy statement.

The question is regarding my CV or resume. I think at this point in my life, my CV is my resume. Here are the relevant sections (in this order) I have in my CV right now:

  • Education
  • Teaching experience (minimal, just TA duties, no formal experience)
  • Professional experience (my two full time jobs I worked after bachelors)
  • Workshops/Certificates (workshops I've attended, certificates from coursera/edx)
  • Relevant coursework (a summarized listing of my courses, for example writing "Real Analysis" instead of "Real analysis 1, real analysis 2" and similarly "singe, multivariable, and vector calculus" instead of "math 100, math 120, math 220")
  • A list of my programming languages. (in categories such as "general: C++/java..", "mathematical: matlab, maple, R" ... )
  • Activities and interests (my memberships and associations with clubs such as the AMS (American mathematical society).
  • supervisor (my two supervisors and their emails)

This ends up being a nice clean two pages. My cover letter (which I have yet to write) will be at most one page.

So the question is.. is my CV properly formatted? What do I do about my lack of teaching experience and how do I address that?

  • 1
    This question is perhaps off-topic here...I think it falls under "preparation for a non-academic career" (quoted from the tour page). Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 18:46
  • 6
    @varun, in the United States, community colleges are undergraduate institutions. The asker is referring to the fact that the instruction is at high school level (it is remedial), not that the institution is a high school. Therefore, this question is academic. However, this question is excessively narrow. Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 23:34
  • 2
    A bit narrow, perhaps, but statistically significant, if not conceptually... Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 0:11
  • @Anonymous Physicist, thanks for the correction. Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 2:34

4 Answers 4


I taught at a community college when I was a graduate student. In my case, I expect I was the only applicant because the pay was very low. I have a few points of advice. Most likely, you have to have at least a master's degree to get the job. So be sure to let them know that you have one.

Do not list totally irrelevant qualifications to the material you are teaching. For example, programming languages are not relevant. Do mention any informal teaching experience you have (Most likely you have at least explained things to other people before.). Do explain what you achieved when you were a TA. Do mention experience with course management systems. Also, let them know why you want to teach at the community college.

It probably would not hurt to send a teaching philosophy, if you can write one, though it was not requested.


  • Noting that the linked advice is for someone applying to a full-time position, not part-time teaching; the latter is likely to barely be vetted at all (in my experience). But getting some experience teaching first is definitely a good thing. Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 6:34

I would disagree a bit with @AnonymousPhsicist's answer, in that many community college math departments have taken on (and very reasonably so!) a broader enterprise, relating to computing in particular, and more explicitly statistical things than in the past.

That is, the future of general mathematics (as opposed to fancier research-related versions) that will be useful to most people must include both "programming" issues and, in many situations, "statistical" issues.

That is, no one cares about, or needs, extensive computations by hand, though it is a very good thing to have extracted from those misguided by-hand courses a sensibility about reality, if one hadn't that previously.

One awkwardness will be the possible disconnect between the mathematics relevant to any of your students' lives and the traditional curriculum. Depending enormously on the situation you find yourself in, the disconnect could be stunningly awful... or it could be very mild. In particular, the "mythology" of that math dept would determine whether or not your computing and other experience is a plus, or is "heresy". (Note: some low-wattage contexts are more doctrinaire and angry about ... change... than higher-status places!)

As in all cases of deconstruction of "episodes", stop and think about the questioner's context, and so on...

  • Downvoted because it's unclear how the questioner could act on these observations without knowing specifics of the school environment (which is likely unavailable). Moreover, the vetting for a part-time CC position is likely so cursory that none of this will be an issue (insider baseball). For example, my interviews to start CC part-time teaching were 5 and 15 minutes respectively. Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 6:23

The answer from Anonymous Physicist is right on target (except perhaps the part about omitting your experience with computing, as Paul pointed out). I have no opinion about the rest of Paul's post because I had trouble understanding it.

I'd like to make a few additional suggestions.

  1. You should tighten up your CV for applying to jobs like this. Try to get it down to one page. Even if you can't, it is still valuable to get it more succinct. For example, you do not need to tell them that you took Calc I, II and III. From your existing degree(s) and current educational status, this is obvious and goes without saying.

  2. Your teaching philosophy can be included in your cover letter, but please be concise -- aim for no more than one paragraph. Make sure it comes across as being grounded in practical experience. (As Anon P said, it's okay if this is largely informal.)

  3. Also in your cover letter, you can pull out your main selling point(s), and tailor your application to the particular institution you are applying to. How do you know what spin to give your application? By digging around in the college's website and reading articles in the local press about the college; by visiting the college; by calling up the dean of mathematics and finding out more about the position.

One thing I can think of that might make your application less than ideal is that they might be afraid you would leave after a couple of years. (This might or might not bother them.)


My answer is: You're probably fine as-is. You've likely already put more thought into writing up this question than most community-college teaching applicants.

You may be surprised or shocked by how cursory the vetting process is. In my experience, getting an initial part-time math/computer-science teaching position at community colleges (in two different major cities), with a Master's degree, involved respectively a 5-minute and a 15-minute interview. (In the former case the interviewer was also on the phone the whole time.) In many places the adjunct instructors are so numerous, and have such high turnover, that very little time can be spent for vetting.

Years later (I'm now a full-time lecturer at the latter institution) I was told by the department chair who hired me from out-of-state that what clinched my interview was an unusually literate cover letter. Your mileage is likely to vary greatly.

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