Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Getting your resume ready, part one

One of the parts of the "information exchange" that nearly everyone is familiar with is the resume.  But what makes a good resume?

There are two common, but different, approaches to developing a resume (also called a "Curriculum Vitae" or C.V.-- which, in Latin, literally means "course of life").  One approach is to spill nearly everything you've ever done onto the page, sometimes resulting in a four or five page document.  This approach, which is more common in academic and scientific environments, is necessary for those whose employment will be measured (at least to some degree) by the quantity of their work-- for example, a college professor is often expected to publish scholarly articles and/or books regularly.  In this case, the resume, while organized, can be lengthy and will have some esoteric content.

The other approach is more of a minimalist approach: provide a basic and brief summary of the most important highlights.  More common in the corporate world, these will usually be only a single page and will not try to even approach being exhaustive.  The thinking behind this approach is that corporate "HR" types don't have (or won't take) the time to read lengthy resumes, so if you even want to be considered you should keep it short.

So which approach suits ministry candidacy?  I'd bet that nine out of 10 readers would guess the long, exhaustive type would be best.

But most of the time, they would be wrong.

These days, nearly every open ministry position gets dozens of applicants.  One small church I know of-- about 80 members-- recently completed its search for a solo Pastor.  They had over 60 candidates to eliminate at the beginning.  Another church I know of, looking for an Associate Pastor, had over 300 candidates apply.  In other words, the quantity of qualified applicants to be considered for an open ministry position is probably more like the corporate world than the academic or scientific world.

As you are preparing your resume, be committed to keeping it brief.  You don't need a long, multi-page resume.  In fact, if you're just finishing seminary, it is as likely as not that you won't really have enough accomplishments to your credit to make a multi-page resume worthwhile.  Most seasoned pastors could summarize the cogent aspects of their careers in one page.

In part two, I'll talk about what content should go onto a resume, and how you can keep it brief.

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1 comment:

lori said...

This is very useful information! Thank you for taking your time to go over this very important part of getting a job.