It's a new year, and that means throwing out last year’s playbook and coming up with a new plan. Whether you are just entering the ministry job market, or you’ve been considering making a transition for a while, there are some basic tactics you can use to maximize your church job search and land that perfect next opportunity.
Here are our ministry job hunting tips for 2016:
1. Build your best resume.
Never in the history of the world has there been more information out there about resume writing. A lot of it is clutter, but in the best resumes we see are three things: they are clear, simple, and informative. On your ministry resume, it should be obvious where you worked, what you did, and for how long you did it.
Your resume should be simple enough that it doesn’t take a long time to read and it leaves the reader wanting to know more about you. Graphics, photos, and colors are nice, but if your resume lacks content, it isn’t effective. Make your resume professional-looking and clear so that you have the most polished and effective resume ever.
2. Manage your time.
Whether you are currently employed or out of work, set reasonable goals for each week. For example, you could set a goal for a number of friends to contact or certain jobs to apply for in a given week. Also, give yourself a two or three-month target for finding a job. Write it on your calendar to keep you motivated.
If you get to that point and are still without a job, it is time to take a few days and re-evaluate. Ask yourself the tough questions: Am I qualified for what I’m applying for? Do I need to seek a different type of position? Do I need to re-assess my resume? The answers to these questions should help you correct your course and keep going. Don't dwell on that friend who was out of work for less than a week before she got a new job. That is abnormal. Normally, it takes people months to find a good job. Don’t be discouraged!
3. Leverage your network.
The popular African proverb rings true here: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.“
Pick a few trusted “team captains” to send your resume out for you and encourage you along the way. Meet with them and tell them what you are looking for. The rest of your support team are your friends, family, and former colleagues with whom you had good working relationships. Contact them individually to ask for their help for ideas and connections.
4. Be social on social media.
Start with your LinkedIn profile and make sure everything is accurate and up-to-date. Join groups that are appropriate to your experience and job search. If you have a Twitter or Facebook profile, make sure your online persona is the one you want potential employers to see.
5. Stay positive.
“I am the greatest; I said that even before I knew I was.” – Muhammad Ali.
Perspective is everything. Even as daunting as the job search can be, stay positive. In your online interactions with others, your language in cover letters, and your emails to your team, remain hopeful and positive. Continue to be prayerful in your search and seek the Lord with every application and interview.
6. Learn to tell your story effectively.
If you are given the chance to interview, whether on the phone or in person, interviewers are going to ask you about you. Know how to tell your story well and with a positive perspective. If you can’t make your own life sound interesting and positive, who can? Practice talking through your career so that when the time comes, you can answer questions confidently and accurately.
7. Follow up with grace and class.
Whether you nailed the interview or bombed it, follow up with the interviewer to express gratitude for their time. Thank you notes are great, and email can have the same effect. Although these things rarely change an interviewer's mind about whether to move forward a candidate or not, they do something much greater: they delight the receiver, which spreads into the future. Graceful follow-ups like this essentially turn that interviewer into a team-member of yours. They are now an advocate for you, and your network becomes even bigger.