A successful webpage has some distinctive features that most users appreciate such as clean design, easy navigation, and a logically concise information layout.
The best resumes I’ve read also had these same elements.
When I review resumes, there are things that turn me off, predisposing me to not seriously consider a candidate for a position. In my experiences, these things are:
- Hidden key information – Either they’ve not started with the critical information (name, location, current employer and experience) or it’s not easily detectible. Sometimes they choose to highlight hobbies and high school awards before letting me know what experience they’ve had that pertains to the job for which they are soliciting. And sometimes they go overboard on design, concealing key information. I like unique design like the rest of the world, but no amount of Apple-generated cool can hide the fact that a candidate doesn’t have the right experience for the position.
- Over-stated or over-spiritualized purpose statement – I don’t discount candidates for having one, but by receiving a resume for a ministerial position, I already assume they’re believers seeking God’s will for future service. If they want to tell me that in a resume, that’s okay—but it needs to be simple and specific. Candidates may feel like they could serve in several types of positions (a utility guy or gal), but they must at least make the effort to acknowledge God’s calling to the specific area for which I’m hiring.
- Long cover letter – I don’t mind quick introductions that connect the dots, but I already have their resumes. I don’t need 500 additional words in paragraph form to tell me what I can find in it. If I want additional information, I’ll ask for it as a part of my follow-up.
- Unchecked resume – A resume should be a product of your best efforts. I realize it’s just a snapshot, but it should be an accurate and grammatically-sound snapshot.
- Too much information – A resume doesn’t have to cover everything. Just entice me to want to know more. If a resume does that, there will be an opportunity to tell me more. Dossiers serve their purpose, but are rarely required in an initial resume submittal for a ministry setting.
P.S. In a ministry context, I believe these turn-offs are fairly universal. But as a post-script, here are a few items I recommend you include (in order), and things I personally like to see when reviewing a resume:
- Experience – This trumps most everything. Let me know where you’re currently serving, then list other significant ministry services in historical order.
- Ministry Accomplishments
- Family Description* (if applicable) – This can be first or last. By listing them last, I don’t assume that’s where you order them in value.
- A Picture* – A simple, professional one is best. (I don’t need one of you in a bike helmet finishing your triathlon.)
- Personality Profile Results – If you’ve completed DISC, PLACE, Strength Finders, etc., let me know the key findings of your results. Even if I don’t understand them fully, a quick online search can provide me insightful information on who God created you to be (offering the “full profile results” as requested is a nice touch).
- Your Everyday Name – Don’t use your full name if you don’t want me to call you that. If you go by “Mike,” then write “Mike.” Using your first, middle, and last names is important if you’re really important and/or there’s someone with your same name competing with you in creating intellectual property.
- E-mail Address – Make it professional. I rarely take a candidate seriously if I have to type NinjaMinister@gmail.com.
*Because I am advising you on what I like to view on a resume I can make those statements. But requesting those components of a candidate as the hiring church could be crossing legal lines (I’d suggest consulting an attorney for clarification if it’s important to you).