Building a Resume

Building a resume is difficult for clergy in transition. The duties you perform – the duties which you were called to do – have no worth in a secular business world. Listing these functions in your secular resume will get your resume tossed quickly into the “Rejected” pile. Those who are not close enough to pastor’s work tend to discount or even to ridicule the pastoral activities.

That was a tough statement. Those things you do are not of value? Standing by families in crisis. Planning all those church picnics and social hours with the congregation. Praying with a soul in turmoil over a life situation. All those hours of sermon prep. All these are of no worth.

Not really. What was written was these tasks have no value in a secular workplace. Those pastoral tasks changed lives on a way you will never find opportunities to do in business. This is a sad reality that must be looked on squarely in the face or you will be dogged by a profound disappointment in your non-pastoral work career. Your job was “people helper.” In the business world, your job will be “profit helper.”

The resume you prepare should reflect the duties your performed that can translate to a profit value world. As a pastor, you performed function that are needed in the secular world. You prepared budgets and managed them. You supervised the work of others. You prepared reports. You managed the maintenance of facilities. If you went through a major construction project, you have worked with contractors, You may have prepared the request for bids and evaluated those bids. You conducted fund raising campaigns. You coordinated events, perhaps even doing the event planning. Perhaps, one could say that all those chores that you didn’t like to do are now the experiences that should be at the core of your resume.

Try to think of the secular equivalent of your experience. For example, preparing and giving sermons. This would be the preparing and delivering presentations. Crisis intervention could be translated into problem solving or determining client needs. One suggestion is to prepare a worksheet with 2 columns, In one column, list your pastoral experiences. In the other column, translate each of those tasks into business speak. Use job ads to build up your business term vocabulary.

A point one never sees in tutorials for preparing resumes is the one point that should guide the writing of your resume. Write your resume to the job you are applying for. There is no such thing as one good resume that fits all. The person reading your resume when it is receive will judge your fate in about 5 seconds. If they don’t see a match to the position within that time, your resume will be rejected. It is worse if the company scans your resume and rates it by the number of keywords found in it. If the position does not require teaching skills, do not reference teaching.

A final word. Your experience as a counselor or teacher will not be acknowledge unless you have the academic credentials to become certified. When you are working for a faith-based organization, you were not required to have a license or certification. A bright point here is that should you want to find secular employment in those areas, you have the skills and experience to do well. All that is needed is to complete the paperwork. That may mean going back to school for a degree or to work towards obtaining a certificate.

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Shepherd Me, O Christ – Beyond My Wants

When one is in transition, yesterday’s wants quickly become today’s needs. On a breezy hillside in Judea peopled with eager listeners, an itinerant rabbi recited a prayer for His followers. “Give us this day our daily bread.” Before the eyes of the Hebrews gathered on this mount, they saw their ancestors wandering in a deserted and barren place, craving the fine bread baked in slavery. Through the intercession of Father Moses, bread appeared outside the tents. Although plentiful and satisfying, it was truly daily bread. The following day any hoarded in mistrust was green with mold. Scholars theorize that this bread, the blessing for Jacob’s children, was the offal of a certain insect. The Father can use the most unlikely resources to provide for His precious ones.

The time of ministry transition can become a time of constant flux and uncertainty. Housing, food, electricity, heat, water, insurances, car expenses once budgeted and paid for become burdens in a time of questionable cash flow. The faithful servant feels like a begging bowl lackey, seeking any opportunity to sell one’s services. The Father who offers bread appears to be doling out those stones.

In times of economic distress, trusting in a God of the lilies and insect dung is counter-intuitive. To endanger the well-being of 99 was not worth the life of one. How ironic that this parable has been labeled the story of the “good” shepherd. Just as it was very difficult for the shepherds in the crowd to take seriously any tale where a working man of the fields would leave 99 sheep to search for a stray. In the sinkhole of need how foolish it is to pray for daily bread.

CS Lewis wrote that prayer does not change God, it changes the one who prays. When one attunes oneself to the daily needs, one starts searching for the Divine response. The opportunities hidden in the briars become visible. Talents forgotten come to the forefront of thought. The spark of creativity jostles and mixes with resources and opportunities in the protected hands of a good God .

Look at your talents, newly cultivated and those not recently used. There are opportunities out there. Be a hammerhead shark, not looking directly in front but scanning to the side. Writing, proofreading, voice-over work, becoming a rehearsal pianist, teaching photography at the local community college, web design, producing retreats for assisted living centers or skilled nursing facilities, writing sermons as a freelancer, doing work in another denomination or ministry. Think of a need and how you can fill it. First, ask the Spirit to let you see the possibilities. Don’t shrink back from the outlandish at first. Just let the list grow. Look at the cluster of activities. Is there a pattern that emerges? Is there a task which calls to you? Use internet searches to find employment opportunities in those areas. The bread you seek is there. Who would ever have thought that it may come in the form so unbreadlike?

Search Engine Keywords
Search for the following phrases to see opportunities
Remember, do not pay to receive openings or information about openings.

freelance writing jobs
CPE residency programs stipend
church jobs
ministry jobs
government jobs
Craig’s list
teacher openings [nearest large town]
retirement living [nearest large town]

Any item from your brainstorming

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Starting the Job Hunt for Those Leaving Active Ministry

It is not an easy decision or a situation one wants to find oneself in – leaving active ministry. In addition to the pending loss of income, there is the tasks involved with job seeking. You have skills that are transferable. You may have interests that can translate to another career path. Here is a map to help you at the beginning of your quest.

The earlier you can start planning and taking the steps needed to obtain the credentials is best. These tasks are forward looking. You are taking action to construct your future. When you feel like you are standing at the edge of a cliff, this will remind you that the first step is not a perilous drop into the canyon of the unknown.

Ask the assistance of the Spirit as you start. With the Spirit is your guide, go with your first instinct when taking the assessments. Answer questions quickly. Do not ponder over them. When you see the results, prayerfully read them over. Be open to leadings and promptings. There are online resources available.

The following link is to a site sponsored by the federal Department of Labor. The jargon can be a bit confusing because it the standardized codes and language are used to generate labor statistics. Once you get the feel of the form of the information presented, you will find it useful in clarifying your options. Try not to get lost in search the site. The site has tools for later steps in the transitioning process. Focus your energy on the initial steps of the process. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

If you would want to discuss any part of the first steps, fill in your email address under “Subscribe.”

Via con dios.

Link to Assesments

“As long as you have certain desires about how it ought to be you can’t see how it is.” — R Dass

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How did I get here!

You answered the call on your life for ministry. . .  but now you need a job.

First, you are not alone.  If there was any way to keep accurate statistics, you are close to the majority of ministers.   Active ministry has one of the highest burnout rate of the helping professions.  Then there are the situations of church downsizing, of congregations who eat their pastors and push them to the curb or of growing out of the organizational structure.

“Don’t look back” –  at least for now.  You have  been following the Spirit and the path you have followed is changing directions.  The buzzword is “transitioning.”   It is a good word.  The process you are going through is not a sharp turn from the path you were following – you are just on a blind curve.  You have unlimited possibilities to continue your service to the Lord and His people.  Listen to where that still, small voice is calling you now.

And there are resources out there for you.  Resources for coping with the transitioning.  Resources to translate your talents to another career path.  Resources  for support from others on the same journey.

The ultimate reason you are here may never be known.  Trust in the Lord and rejoice.  The Spirit is leading.  The Shepard has you in His care.  The Father’s  eye is on you.    And again, rejoice!

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