resume

I’m Trying to Find a Church Job… HELP ME!!!

Michelle Weger gives guidelines for a great resume.

Recently, I have had several recent college grads and friends contact me as they are looking for new ministry opportunities. I’ve spent time tailoring many of their resumes and candidate packages and thought I would offer some streamlined advice on these things. I have never candidated for a position that I wasn’t offered.

I also don’t apply/candidate for a position unless I have a strong belief and conviction that it is the right direction. When it comes to ministry jobs, don’t just throw your hat in the ring to see what happens. Take time to get to know and understand the church you are considering and the people who lead it.

1. NO TYPOS

Not in the body of the email you send, not in your cover letter, not in your resume. I would even go as far as to say, proof read your letters of recommendation and reference as they are a reflection of your knowledge and experience. As nit picky as that may sound, your typos show a lack of attention to detail. When I am hiring, I throw out candidates immediately for stuff like that. I don’t even make it to their resume most of the time. Find a friend who has stellar grammar and put them to work. Offer them $25 or something. It will be money well spent. Pay attention to your punctuation, your tenses, to everything.

2. MAKE IT PERSONAL

Make the body of the email very personal, so it doesn’t look like you just changed the name of the church from the last app you sent out. Show that you’ve spent time on their website and gotten acquainted with them. Refer to something that you saw that kept your attention. If you can’t think of anything, you probably shouldn’t be applying.

3. MAKE IT EASY

With your attachments, merge them into one PDF. Never send editable versions. Most people won’t take the time to download a slew of attachments, or they’ll be annoyed by the time they do. You always want to make it easy for them. Just put it all in one PDF with the cover letter on page one, resume on page two, and then everything else following. Alternatively, make your cover letter your email and then attach the rest with the resume on top.

Merging PDF’s on a Mac
Merging PDF’s on a PC

When including links in your email or package, write them out don’t title them. Like for example:

Video:

http://www.youtube.com/blah blah
http://www.vimeo.com/blah

Audio:

http://www.mymusic.com/asdafk/askda

Again, this is all about making it easy. Many churches print these packages off and hand them to their search team. In that moment, “click HERE” doesn’t help. You do the work – don’t ask them to do the work.

Another thought for whatever it is worth: I have never asked for a response. If my submission doesn’t stand on its own and demand an inquiry, I have nothing else to say.

Here’s a few bonus tips:

Cover Letter

Stop attaching a stand alone photo of yourself. It looks silly and pretentious when you send someone your picture. There is one exception: if they ask for a photo, but even then, proceed with caution. Most of the time, just putting your pic as part of your resume or cover letter, will do the job.

Don’t force the cover letter to do the resume’s job. You’re just introducing yourself. If when you meet someone new you stand there and rattle off your total life’s experiences, eventually someone is going to shoot you. So, please stop doing that. Share your heart, share what caught your attention with this particular ministry. Bottom line, introduce yourself.

Resume

So often resumes are waaaayyyy too long. Keep it one page, two pages max. Share the essentials. Trim the fat. This is a snapshot of your experience, not a diary. Also, name your files appropriately… sending “ministry resume FINALLY DONE.doc” isn’t helping you. I suggest: {LAST NAME}, {FIRST NAME} Resume.PDF.

Michelle Weger is a singer, songwriter, worship leader and recording artist who currently works as the Director of Worship and Youth ministries at the Shores campus of Grace Church. Her latest EP King of All Creation is Available on itunes.

 

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