This part of the process always seems to get many of us stuck. We either get completely overwhelmed wondering where to start or we often get a myopic focus that is so narrow we can’t find any traction.
Fortunately there are some easy steps to getting unstuck and moving your search process ahead.
1. Network– The best thing you can do when starting to look for a job is to let people know. I realize this is slightly problematic if you haven’t told your current employer but you’ve got to figure out a way around that because your best bet in finding a job is to enlist people to help you. It’s just reality that if you can get more people to put out the word and help you look you will find more opportunities. As an example I was in an interview process recently where we were interviewing a candidate that several people I know had told me was amazing. That paid off huge for this candidate as we already had a good feeling about him before the interview even started. In a similar vein I can’t tell you how important getting to know people in the youth ministry world is and networking with other youth workers. I realize not everyone is like me but it is such an important thing to be known and to know people because that is often what opens doors and opportunities.
2. Beginning to Look: : There are a lot of different places to look for a job. The general youth ministry ones are the Youth Specialties job bank, the Youth Cartel Job Board, and Church Staffing. Don’t limit yourself to those though. A sneaky way of finding local openings would be to look at local Christian College job boards. You don’t have to be a student or alumni to browse their websites. You can also do some direct searching of church websites and if you are really forward go ahead and call churches directly and ask whoever answers the phone if they know of any jobs opening up. If you are in a denomination you can check with them to see if they have a job board. Another place you could look would be to see if you could find any local youth ministry networks and see what people know. More often than not someone might tell another youth worker they are connected to that they have an opening “or that they will be the opening” before they will tell others.
3. Expanding/Narrowing your search: I hire a lot of people and I can’t tell you how many resumes I receive sometimes that just don’t make sense. It’s someone who currently works as a church that is theologically opposite of mine or they have absolutely no experience and are applying for an executive ministry level position. Know what you qualify for and what you believe and narrow your search down to that. One thing that I suggest is that you may want to consider finding someone who can coach you through the process. I’ve done this several times and sometimes it’s my tough questions about what they are looking for and what they think they are qualified for that helps them see where they should apply. I think it is worth saying that we sometimes need to expand our search when there just doesn’t seem to be any opportunities. That can be tough if you are locked into specific geographic or denominational categories.
4. Pray: Although I’ve listed this 4th this is not a stack ranked blog. Pray through out the whole process. I’m going to just believe that you also believe that God opens doors and makes things clear. A great place to start is to ask God to do just that. I’ve been in some weird job hunts before where either nothing was showing up or too much was being offered and I needed God to make things clear. Praying and being in his will at the beginning of this process will help through the whole thing.
So here’s what we will talk about:
1. How to start a search process?
2. Where to look for jobs?
3. Think about your fit
4. Start writing your interview questions (you will be interviewing them)
5. Prep Work (be the most informed candidate they have)
6. Resumes, video introductions, cover letters and applications
7. Interviews: Presenting yourself well
8. Interviews: How to get a second one
9. Face to face to face to face. What to do when they bring you in for a weekend?
10. Negotiating 101
11. Negotiating 201
12. Seeking Discernment: Praying, asking friends, checking with family.