Each year the staff at ChristianCareerCenter.com and ChurchJobsOnline.com sees hundreds of resumes for church jobs (senior pastor, associate pastor, youth pastor, campus pastor, worship leader, etc.) and jobs with Christian organizations(web designer, social media manager, house parent, teacher, copywriter, pilot, accountant, human resources manager, etc.) An estimated 80% of those resumes do not effectively showcase the candidate’s skills and experience and are not targeted for the job that the applicant is pursuing. This is unfortunate, as good candidates for church, ministry, and Christian jobs may never get to the interview stage.
Your resume for Christian jobs is a summary of your qualifications. Think of it as an expanded business card. You use a business card to introduce yourself, or to leave behind as a reminder of who you are, and what and whom you represent. In this case, the product/service you represent is you!
Just as you would never rely on a business card to sell your product or service, you should never rely on your resume alone to get you the job. The resume is your introduction to prospective employers, telling them about your education, work experience, abilities, and accomplishments. Ultimately, its job is to prove to a church staffing committee or a ministry recruiter that they should take the time to interview you. To accomplish this, your resume needs to clearly showcase that you can meet their needs and expectations.
Many churches and ministries have reported receiving hundreds of resumes when they advertise church openings; therefore, most churches and recruiters spend only 6-30 seconds skimming over the average resume. In that brief time, your resume will make either a positive or a negative impression on the employer. These days, larger and even medium-sized churches also analyze resumes using automatic tracking systems (ATS) that scans for the needed skills or experiences. For your resume to be considered, it must "hit home" immediately by including the keywords for which the software has been programmed to search.
An excellent resume when applying for Christian jobs and church openings clearly states your qualifications (in descending order of importance) for the position for which you are applying. You will need to spend several hours thinking, writing and rewriting. There are no shortcuts to writing an excellent resume. Since at times it will form an employer's first impression of you, it must be an example of your best thought and effort.
Here are 14 Keys to Writing a Winning Resume For Christian Jobs
There are some resume writing experts who recommend not having an objective on your resume. If you choose to not have an objective, then we recommend that you use a branding statement that can be centered at the top of your resume under your contact information. Here is an example of a resume with a branding statement. And here are some examples of branding statements:
Experienced Senior Pastor
Senior Pastor with 11 years of increasing responsibility in congregational leadership
Human Resources Director with more than five years of experience
Experienced Human Resources Professional Focused on Employee Job Fit, Workforce Optimization, and Cost Saving Solutions
Proven Operations Manager
A highly motivated, experienced professional with skills in marketing, e-commerce, relationship-building, promotion and management.
A functional resume highlights your skills and lists your qualifications in their order of importance regardless of the time of occurrence. In a functional resume, you make use of the skills and duties from all of your work history (paid and/or volunteer), education and leisure activities which relate to and qualify you for the job objective. Use the functional format if you plan a career transition, or if you do not have specific work experience related to the job you want.
While there is no perfect style or format for a resume, most people find having a template to start with makes resume writing much easier. Here are templates that you can use to produce a Word doc resume:
As you can see, each skill statement starts with a transferable skill name: launched, restructured, and restructured. These words connote action. The skill statement then describes how the transferable skill was used and, most importantly, what result was achieved. Please note that while it is not always possible to quantify results, strive to give at least a subjective description of the results you produced.
To analyze the skills that are going to be most important to focus on, use Indeed.com to research three to five Christian or church jobs you are targeting. Identify the skills that are consistent within the job postings. These skills are the ones that you will need to emphasize in your resume. Besides the transferable skills (as noted above), also look for the knowledges a candidate needs and the personal skills (sometimes called “soft skills” such as diligent, hardworking, organized, outgoing, etc.) that the employer wants in the candidate who is hired.
Writing skill statements may take you two or more hours to complete. But keep in mind that the work that you do in writing your skill statements will help you not only to write a good resume, but will also be valuable in interviewing, where it is important that you are able to prove you have the skills that are important to the employer.
If you are using a functional format you will also want to have a “Work History” section to provide the names of the companies for which you have worked, where they were located, the job titles you held, and the dates you worked at each company.
OBJECTIVE: Senior Pastor
HIGHLIGHTS OF QUALIFICATIONS
JOB OBJECTIVE: Church Administrative Assistant
HIGHLIGHTS OF QUALIFICATIONS
OBJECTIVE: Office Manager / Program Manager for a Nonprofit Organization
SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS
In reverse chronological order, list the institutions you attended, their locations and dates of attendance or graduation. (If it has been more than 10 years since you received your last degree, you may not want to list dates.) It is not necessary for a college graduate to indicate the high school attended, unless there is some aspect of that experience that particularly supports your objective. Include degrees received, academic major(s) and/or areas of concentration. Job applicants with limited work experience may also want to mention such things as special academic honors, student activities, certificates, etc.
There are specific things you can do to help ensure that the ATS places your resume into the “yes” pile for the church staffing committee or recruiter as they search for the right candidates to interview.
Using these 14 keys will maximize the effectiveness of your resume for Christian jobs, ministry openings, and church jobs. By having taken the time to target each of your resumes for jobs of interest, you will stand out from most other resumes. The goal of your targeted resume is to gain an interview, and by having named and organized your transferable, personal and content skills, you will be able to better articulate and prove how you can meet the churches or ministries needs during the interview!
© Article copyright by Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck, ChristianCareerCenter.com, PastorJobs.Net, ChurchJobsOnline.com, ChristianJobFair.com, CareerFitTest.com and LiveYourCalling.com. All rights reserved. The above information is intended for personal use only. No commercial use of this information is authorized without written permission.