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Landing a Job: What a Hiring Manager Is Looking For

Landing a Job: What a Hiring Manager Is Looking For

January 12, 2014 by

The new year might be time for a new job or a first job in church communication. Our new series focuses on that journey—landing a job. We’ll talk about the process of finding work in a church, what to expect and more. Today we’ll talk about what a hiring manager is looking for.

Hiring someone is rarely a simple process. The decision is a series of steps narrowing down the pool of candidates. The hiring protocol will vary from organization to organization, but your ultimate goal is to be remembered. When you apply for a job you need to create a positive experience for hiring managers so they’ll remember you when it’s time to narrow down the candidates.

When I am hiring, here’s what I look for:

Resume
You are applying for a job that’s about presenting information creatively. Your resume should be leveraged as an opportunity to make a statement that says, “If I can represent myself creatively, imagine what I can do for your church and ministry.”

  • Keep it to a single page. I won’t spend a lot of time reading your credentials and accomplishments.
  • Give your resume a creative twist while staying within formal guidelines. Most candidates submit a resume in a standard, boring format. Can you impress me with how effectively and succinctly you can organize information about yourself?

Portfolio
You can help make your body of work stand out by making the process of viewing your portfolio a good experience. Consider the following:

  • How will you organize it? I often get them in random order. Sort and group intuitively. The order should make sense and not just be a random list of your hits.
  • How much will you include? Don’t give too much. Show range and versatility. What you include in your portfolio should show that you understand what I need (so yes, you should customize your portfolio for the job).
  • How user-friendly is the experience? Technical difficulties will not bode well for you. I’ll project my frustrations onto you and you risk leaving an impression that this is what working with you will be like. Make sure you’re using common file formats and not requiring the latest software updates.

Interview
No matter where you’re applying—a church that’s never met you or one that’s known you all your life—you need to do two things for the interview.

  • Dress professionally. Your attire should match the culture of the organization, but it’s better to over-dress than under-dress.
  • Come prepared. Know the organization’s mission, vision, core values and what is currently going on.

Social Media
Yes, social media matters these days. Whether you are looking for a job or not, keep in mind what you post is public and will reflect on you professionally.

  • Assume I’m going to look you up.
  • Make it easy and accessible for me by listing your handles. This also tells me you have nothing to hide.
  • While social media can hurt you, it can also help you.

Ministry Calling
Everything I listed above is applicable to any job application scenario. But working at a church is unique. Ministry calling is something you should not neglect. Your spiritual maturity speaks volumes about the kind of employee you’ll be. Consider your readiness to respond to the following:

  • Why do you want to work at a church?
  • Do you attend church regularly?
  • Do you serve?
  • Do you consistently spend time in the Bible and in prayer?
  • Do you have a calling or vision from God to work in ministry?
  • Are you growing spiritually?

That should give you an idea of what to expect as you apply for jobs and help you to be a stronger candidate. I also pray they’ll help you to evaluate your calling and bring your creative gifts and passion into ministry.

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Kelvin Co


Kelvin Co gets to do what he loves as the creative arts pastor of The Oaks Fellowship located in the Dallas Metroplex area. Kelvin has been doing life together with his wife and best friend Lucy since 1991, and they have been doting on and pouring into their son Luc since 2002.
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5 Responses to “Landing a Job: What a Hiring Manager Is Looking For”

  • Johnny209
    January 15, 2014

    I think something that should really be emphasized is that before applying to a church pray about it. Working at a church can easily be the greatest experience of your life, while equally being the most stressful. The demands are not like most jobs, you can have the skills but you need to have the heart.


    • Jared Brandon
      January 15, 2014

      @Johnny209 That’s so true. You can have an incredible résumé and be perfect for “the job” but in a ministry setting that’s simply not enough.


    • Kevin D. Hendricks
      January 15, 2014

      Thanks Johnny209, that’s a great thought.


  • Jared Brandon
    January 15, 2014

    These are great thoughts, Kelvin. I wish more people who were applying for an open position with me would read this! I’ve recently been astounded by the lack of creativity and relevance in the applications and résumés I’ve received. The résumé is only one part of the equation, and for me it’s not necessarily the most important. I’m looking for heart, creativity, and drive. I’m looking to see that you’re working to prove something to me and willing to put time in to show off a little bit. This is communications! It’s not a daily grind kind of role but something that requires a wide range of disciplines from strategy and organization to creativity and rule breaking.


  • Kelvin
    January 20, 2014

    Thank you Jared!

    Johnny, I completely agree with you regarding how essential prayer is to anyone considering a position at a church.



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