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Finding a Job: Resumes, Video introductions, cover letters and more

310135209_1c87f1ab1f_mYou have a lot of control over this part of the process.  It’s generally your first major step to tell a potential employer about yourself.  So you want to make sure to put your best foot forward.  As I’ve said a few times in this series I receive a lot of resume packets.  We have frequent openings as we have interns and residents positions.  I feel like I’m always opening up some sort of packet.  A few years back I landed on what I felt as an interviewer was the right mix of information both formal and informal that gave me the best introduction to candidates.  What we started doing was requiring a ministry resume, an informal video introduction and a cover letter that tells us why they are interested (there is some overlap between the video and cover letter.)   Your goal is to make sure that the employer reads through all your material and watches your whole video.  Most employers won’t ask for the type of video I’m advocating and will instead ask for a “teaching” video.  Your goal is to get them to watch this short video because it’s your first interview and will put you ahead of other candidates.

  1. Resume-  Don’t simply take a microsoft word template and put together a basic resume you send out to everyone. You’ve actually got to tailor your resume for particular jobs.  That takes work and it should.  Make sure that you aren’t highlighting jobs from 10 years ago unless they are specifically relevant to the job you are applying for.  And just a quick reminder. No one cares about your grade point average.  It doesn’t tell us what kind of a youth worker you’ll be only that you are proud of yourself for your grades.  You should list conferences and professional stuff you’ve done. It helps me see who is influencing you.  And make sure to have a section about your “interests” because that just gives me a small picture of who you are in a short blurb. Keep the resume to two pages and if you want to include a picture that’s great.
  2. Cover Letter– This is where doing your research matters.  Don’t right a generic cover letter. Show me that you’ve actually done some research on the church or organization and can speak to why you are interested in working for us.  This isn’t the place for name dropping but honestly tell me why you are interested. I can tell if you really get us by what you write.  This should be a page and doesn’t have to be an introduction because that’s what the video is for.
  3. Video Introduction– This is your chance in 2 short minutes to get a first interview ahead of everyone else. You need to shoot a simple video introduction that is clever, basic and will show them your personality.  I tell people that using a simple cell phone camera is fine. Just a basic, here’s a little bit about you and what makes you tick. I just watched one where the candidate was moving throughout his whole house introducing his life and he ended up getting on a scooter and riding away. It was quirky, funny and great.  You can tailor the video towards a particular job. They are easy to shoot and you can do multiple.  One quick note you are going to want to upload the video to youtube or a similar site and send a link don’t embed the video in an e-mail. This makes it really easy for a potential employer to simply forward your full packet to the committee if there is one.

Good luck job hunting.

Finding a Job series:

  1. How to start a search process and looking for jobs?
  2. Think about your fit
  3. Start writing your interview questions (you will be interviewing them)
  4. Prep Work (be the most informed candidate they have)
  5. Resumes, video introductions, cover letters and applications
  6. Interviews: Presenting yourself well
  7. Interviews: How to get a second one
  8. Face to face to face to face. What to do when they bring you in for a weekend?
  9. Negotiating 101
  10. Negotiating 201
  11. Seeking Discernment: Praying, asking friends, checking with family.
Photo by Oskar Seljeskog via Flickr (Creative Commons)
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1 thought on “Finding a Job: Resumes, Video introductions, cover letters and more

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