Preparing a Résumé


Your résumé is a written introduction of yourself in regard to your experience and qualifications. It may go through many channels and will pass through many hands. The person who reads the résumé and makes a decision of whether or not to contact you is often a total stranger. Therefore your résumé may be considered a "first impression" and should be prepared in a manner that will make a good first impression. The following guidelines are intended to help you prepare a document that will introduce yourself in the best manner. Keep in mind that the résumé does not function to get you a job; rather, its purpose is to get you an interview for a job.

General Guidelines
  1. Limit the length to one-two pages. Save the details for the interview.
  2. Consider having a photo included with the résumé. Résumés with photos tend to get more attention than those without but only use a photo if you believe that it contributes positively to your résumé. While some search committees like to have photos of the candidates, there are valid reasons for not including a photo with the résumé.
  3. Be Personable. Much of ministry has to do with who you are as a person, your character, and your interpersonal skills. Search committees want to know who you are and how you relate to others.
  4. Consider the quality and appearance as you choose the general layout, fonts, paper, printer, and copies. Remember that your résumé often serves as your first impression to the search committee.
  5. Proofread the résumé. Check it carefully. There may be mistakes in information that you alone could catch. Then ask someone who pays attention to details to proofread. Also, have one of the Ministry Guidance professors read your résumé and review it with you.
  6. Store the résumé in multiple electronic formats (hard drive, CD, memory key, etc). It is always best to have back-up copies, and your résumé is never a finished product. You will need to make periodic revisions throughout your ministry.
  7. Attach a general letter of recommendation from one of your references. This is not absolutely essential, but it does give the search committee ready access to one of your references and an opportunity to understand more about you and your ministry skills.
Essential Information
  • Complete Name
  • Contact Information: List your local and permanent address (with phone numbers and e-mail address) so you may be easily reached at all times. If you have a personal or ministry-related website, include the URL if the site reflects your skills and/or relates to your ministry goals.
  • Personal Information: This may include a brief statement of your faith journey and other pertinent information.
  • Education: high school and college with graduation and expected graduation dates. Include your college major(s) and minor(s). Instead of noting your GPA, reference your academic abilities by listing awards, honors, and memberships in school organizations. Most churches will appreciate your abilities as a student but will also want to know how well you relate to others.
  • Ministry-Related Experience: List your experience chronologically, with the most recent job first. Include both paid and unpaid positions with a brief description of your responsibilities and accomplishments in each position.
  • Other Work Experience: Be sure to highlight skills, responsibilities and accomplishments that are applicable to ministerial work.
  • Hobbies, Interests, Extracurricular Activities: These give additional insights to who you are and possibly spotlight other skills that could be useful in ministry.
  • Endorsements for Ministry (if any): These would include licensing and ordination by a church. If applicable, list the church, city, state, and date.
  • Personal Statement: Write a paragraph explaining your particular approach to ministry. Do you focus on programs, parents, bible study, relationships, etc? Do you have a general plan or strategy for doing ministry?
  • References: List about four people who know you and your abilities well. Always ask their permission first. Do not list relatives. Find references with different roles (e.g., pastor, youth minister, professor, deacon, work supervisor, etc.). List their name, how they know you, their address, phone number, and e-mail.