Each month, MinisterSearch receives hundreds of resumes from candidates interested in one of our client’s open pastoral staff positions. It’s quite interesting to see the differences in those resumes.

Recently, in the cover letter, the candidate acknowledged that he hadn’t “updated” his resume. Other times, the cover letter will be addressed to someone else and/or refer to another position at another church or organization.

Considering the number of resumes that are submitted for each position, it’s important to make sure this “first impression” is very positive – something that makes you stand out from the crowd. I’m pretty sure resumes that aren’t updated, have typos, bad grammar stand out from the crowd, but that’s not the way we’re hoping.

For those looking for a new position, or even just considering other options – take some time a develop a strong resume. Start from your most recent position. Use an easy to read/understand format, such as bullet points versus a long, narrative style (most folks reading resumes spend very little time – if it’s hard to read, they’ll move on). Be specific with responsibilities, accomplishments, and successes. Do the same for the prior positions too.

If you’ve been working for a “long” time, don’t feel like you have to include what you were doing 30 years ago. List your most recent experience – if asked later, you can fill in the rest.

Let those who are meeting you for the first time (by resume) get a strong feeling for your attention to detail and diligence. Those are qualities they’ll probably be looking for.

If you need some assistance, the following link will provide a great template!