Many LDS people looking for work wonder how to present church and/or community work, and some also wonder how to effectively present a gap in employment due to raising a family.
There’s a little known saying which rings very true, ‘research before job search’; before any text is written in a résumé or application, it’s best to do some finding out first. First, consider what sort of work you want, and then learn what you can about particular jobs and companies. There are different ways to do this –
- Read between the lines of the actual job advert for things that aren’t mentioned, especially transferable skills such as communication, IT skills, leadership, flexible working, calm in high pressure situations, and so on.
- Compare similar adverts. Go through several to find what requirements come up the most. This will tell you which criteria are most important.
- Visit company websites. They often have useful information about company values, mission statements, what they really want in employees, about the people who run the company and so on. Look for key words and phrases that resonate with you.
- Check Google News. See if the company has been in the news lately, especially for charity events or projects (past or future) that relate to what you’ve done.
- Speak with people you know who do that job or know the company (or people who know someone who does).
- Contact the employer and find out what they really want. This can make you stand out from other applicants (click here for more information about how to do this. I recommend a read! And the Church’s career workshop hand book (https://www.ldsjobs.org/ers/ct/articles/the-career-workshop?lang=eng) has some excellent resources about approaching professionals at companies to get career advice and information. I strongly recommend reading this as well! By asking the right questions, you can find out a lot about what a particular company really values and what their ethos is. You can get feedback on your resume, whilst most importantly building personal connections with people and expanding your network so that people are aware of you and what you can do when opportunities do come up.
- Internet sites like Linked In can help you find local people in a particular industry to ask them career questions – a quick Google search will find a guide on how to do this.
- What projects do you have upcoming?
- What are the biggest challenges you face?
- What are the characteristics of people who do well here?
- What do people enjoy most?
- Can I get feedback on my resume?
- What would a typical day look like?
- Would my church/community work experience be helpful in this job?
From here, you are now more informed about what to include in your résumé and how to word it!