For so many of us looking for work, the first step always seems to be to get a resume together. Do you have any tips for me on what makes a good resume and on any advice from the Bible for putting my best foot forward?
Writing a Resume … Again
With fewer good jobs available right now, a good resume can be the perfect advertisement for the amazing miracle of creation that is you. It’s easy to be discouraged and think that you are just one more resume in a pile. In Psalm 77, the discouraged writer ultimately remembers that he cries out to a God who can lead us with miracles and in new and mysterious ways … even on “a path through the sea.”
Start writing your resume with hope in the God who can lead you to the next great job for you, his dearly loved child, even if the journey leads you places you never expected to go.
There are many resume templates out there to choose from, so pick one that highlights what is wonderful about you. Forget the rules. Think about your unique skills.
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.”
Employers are looking for proven workers who can get a job done. Most of the time, skills are better as a focus than the timeline of employment or the job titles, which can be overly emphasized on many resumes. You are selling your abilities, so discuss what you can do for a company. If you are an amazing accountant and want to continue working with money, highlight that skill set woven through all your employment. If the most interesting thing about your work is how well you manage a team, highlight the projects you’ve led, maybe even at your church or school as a volunteer. Think through what you want to do in your day and how your work would benefit the company with the openings. Crown has some additional advice here on things you can consider adding.
Proverbs 27:2 observes, “Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.”
Choose your references carefully. This is not a throwaway in your resume. If you’ve targeted a company for employment, can you get a reference from someone connected to that business? Consider the people who are impressive in your life and able to sing your praises. As Christians, we are taught to avoid praising ourselves, so let others talk about you. If you’re having trouble selling yourself to an employer, include a letter from one of your references and let them do that for you.
1 Peter 4:10 observes,“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace”
The purpose of our lives is not to enrich us alone. As Christians, we should be about the business of helping others, and with so much competition for jobs, including service on your resume shows prospective employers that you are a team player, able to show concern for the needs of others. In Matthew 25, Jesus talked about the kind of hands-on care he wants people to show to others: “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.” Today’s employers also like to see that their prospects are community minded. Make others part of your story.
Proverbs 22:1 observes, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
In today’s interconnected world, employers (like everyone else) will be checking you out on social media. Consider carefully the picture of yourself shown to the world. Read through your posts, blogs and twitter accounts – and any other social media – to be sure that you want your future boss to see exactly what went on in some party in college. It’s probably time for a social media diet. And after editing your social media, join other online communities that are good for you. Take your resume and accomplishments and look at websites like LinkedIn or professional sites in the field you’ve chosen. Be deliberate in getting the word out about your skills and about limiting what others see. It’s a digital world, so leave a careful and deliberate social footprint.
Leviticus 19:11 commands, “Thou Shalt Not Lie.”
Don’t give in to the fear that you won’t get a good job and pad your resume with lies and half-truths. Once you are found out, the truth of whom you are will get lost in the lies you told to get the job. You do have talents, and if there are skills you need to get to the next level, then take a class or talk with your prospective employer about what can be done to get you there. Put your hope in God and highlight your skills, plans, and dreams.
Now that the resume is ready to go, put it in the hands of your friends and key members of your network and personally ask them to launch into their circle of contacts. Word of mouth referrals remains the best way to land an interview.
Remember, God has a plan for your life. Proverbs 16:9 is a calming reminder: “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”
Originally posted on the Christian Post June 10, 2016.
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