The Six Most Common Mistakes On A Ministry Resume


In golf, they say that you can never win a tournament on the first day of competition, but you sure can lose it. In baseball, they say that you can’t win in the first inning, but you sure can lose.

In interviewing, you probably won’t win a job because of your ministry resume, but you sure can lose it.

Resumes are a doorway to the next step in a job search. No more, no less. The longer I review them, the more I see some common stumbling blocks that individuals include on a ministry resume.

      1. Don’t try to make your ministry resume look cool. Plain vanilla never hurt anyone in resume writing. I don’t need to see logos, four-color prints, or multiple pictures. I’ve never seen simple elegance lose in a ministry resume. I have seen busy become bothersome.
      2. List what you have done first on your ministry resume. Too often, I see statements of “philosophy” or lists of spiritual gifts at the front of a ministry resume. I suppose that’s a nice principle, but what I really want is a snapshot of what you have done at your previous jobs.
      3. Don’t require me to be on the Internet to read your resume. There is a growing trend of listing resumes online, including vimeo channels, You Tube, and blogs on resumes. Cool bells and whistles for sure. But at the end of the day, simplicity wins in resumes. Links are good, but the requirement to be on line (like pointing me to a blog with your resume), limits circulation capacity.
      4. Keep your file size down. Excessive file size in a ministry resume (north of 2MB) is a real problem. They take forever to download, a long time to print (and a lot of ink), and end up being a real hassle. The last thing you want is for your first impression to be a hassle.
      5. Don’t go on and on. One or two pages, maximum. We receive resumes from some really accomplished people. You would be surprised at how brief successful people are with their ministry resume. Brevity may be the soul of wit, but it’s also the essence of effectiveness in ministry resume writing. As one of my colleagues says, “Be brief. Be bright. Be gone.”
      6. Don't forget to spell check. You'd be surprised, but I really must list this one. A ministry resume is a brief glimpse into your sense of professionalism. Sloppy spelling & grammar = sloppy work ethic.

What mistakes are we missing? What have you included in the past on your ministry resume?