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In a job market creating more part-time work than career opportunities, résumé writing is becoming a crucial marketing skill as job seekers study key words to unlock the doors to employment. But when shopping for the perfect textbook, people may forget to consult the Bible.
In an economy with millions unemployed, competition is fierce and any advantage could make a difference. Have you ever wondered what Jesus would like to see on a résumé? It turns out his short list is important to employers as well.
Topping the list: a willingness to work hard and a commitment to developing your talents.
"All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty," noted the Proverbs.
No one wants an employee more interested in the retirement package than the job. Especially as the cost of developing an employee is on the rise, finding someone who takes the job seriously becomes paramount. One way to cut through the pack is to illustrate your willingness to consistently work hard.
Another is to show a track record of developing your unique gifts. The Apostle Paul wrote, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God."
Proverbs 22:29 observed: "Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men." No matter how tight the job market, competition exists for the most talented individuals.
Public service makes the list, too.
In talking about the ultimate job review, Jesus detailed in Matthew 25 the kind of practical and personal concern he wants people to exemplify: "For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited me in; naked, and you clothed me; I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me."
A willingness to share your resources, time and talent with the people around you has benefits in the workplace, in part because those who look to help others represent the kind of employees who build up a team.
In our American culture, the responsibility to care for "the least of these" is too often delegated to government programs, non-profit organizations and even corporations.
A recent report from the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy and The Conference Board found that 59% of 240 leading companies are giving more after the recession than they were before. Looking at all kinds of combined efforts, companies donated an average of $620 per employee.
As companies increase their own charitable efforts, you can't be surprised that they might like to see that in their employees.
For those seeking a career, one way forward can begin with putting others first. Consider the community service opportunities around you, making a difference for real people and showing potential employers that the content of your character makes you the right person for the job.
Robert Dickie III is president of Crown Financial Ministries and author of the forthcoming The Leap: Launching Your Full-Time Career in Our Part-Time Economy.
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