Curb Appeal: Don’t Let Your Resume Kill You!

Yes, I know that three quarters of the country was in a deep freeze at the time I wrote this post. But in our part of the country the sun is out, the lawnmowers are already humming and spring is in the air.

1150489_74226404-1Houses will soon be on the market as many potential sellers are looking to improve the curb appeal of their home.
Similarly in the youth ministry world, spring often seems to be a time for change. How’s your curb appeal? Whether you’re being pursued by a church, graduating soon and prepping for the job hunt or you’re simply one who always want to be prepared— your curb appeal is found in your resume.

In some ways I am a bit like relator. Instead of assessing the curb appeal of a home, I have to quickly judge the curb appeal of a resume. In my role as Director of YS Search, I get to help churches find the right personnel for their open ministry position (think E-Harmony for the church and youth pastors). After the opportunity profile (for the church) has gone live (hundreds listed on the YS Job Bank), I begin to receive inquiries from scores of interested applicants. This is where I begin to look at the curb appeal of the minister.Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 8.54.46 AM

Similar to the curb appeal of a house, the judgement of a resume is completely subjective. I will simply point out a few of the things that I believe help the curb-appeal of a resume.

  • Use the resume to tell your primary ministry story (a reverse timeline, listing most recent/current experience first).
  • When listing your employment, don’t just list all the duties/responsibilities (readers know the main duties of a Youth Pastor already), list the specific accomplishments which happened while you were serving (i.e. “preached in main church service eight to 10 times a year”  or “established parent meetings on a quarterly basis which grew from five in attendance to 45 on average by year three”).
  • When listing jobs, don’t list irrelevant positions; on ministry resumes only list ministry positions held (even if it was as a volunteer) or jobs which were in a similar field.
  • A small section listing your hobbies, passions or personal interest usually adds a bit of character and personality (but keep it short/appropriate).
  • Education does matter (list your highest level completed), but few resume readers are interested in course titles or weekend seminars you’ve attended.
  • Proof it, proof it, proof it again and then have someone else proof it (typos and small mistakes kill)!
  • One page resumes are ALWAYS the ones I like most. Remember, it’s curb appeal, not an interview and/or an essay.

627671_38576907I am certain that when purchasing a home, my wife and I passed by several homes that were gems on the inside— it’s just too bad the owners didn’t put just a little more effort into the curb appeal, we could have discovered the true worth.

Want to talk resume or how to better prep for a ministry position? Don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

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