Building the Perfect Resume

Building The Perfect Resume

We are so excited to have Deanna Kotrla on our team with The Ministry Mechanics! Deanna brings years of leadership and ministry experience to our team as well as valuable consulting and church staffing experience. She's put together some incredible tips to help you craft the perfect resume to get the job you've always wanted. We've even got some free samples and templates at the end of the article that you can use to build your resume. 

Putting together a resume can be an overwhelming task. This is especially true in the sense that many people in ministry are now creating their very first resume. We see this phenomenon  because hiring church staff is not what it was even just 10 years ago when denominational ties were stronger and people also relied on their network of ministry connections for employment. 

Whether you are creating you very first resume as you consider a role or maybe you just need to make some adjustments….here at The Ministry Mechanics we want to help come alongside you with some simple tips and tools to help make this process a bit easier.

1 - Be concise. 

Your resume does not need to include every thing you have ever done in ministry or in your working life. Consider what the position is you are applying for and what your experience is that is relevant to the role. Also try to keep your resume to a minimum of one page if possible or no more than two if you have a robust ministry background or advanced education. 

2 - Include media.

If you are applying for any position that requires speaking, singing, playing an instrument, or video and graphic design work do not send a resume without including media links. If you are a Lead Pastor include links to your top two recent messages. If you lead worship have a compilation video of recent service examples or events you have led that include different styles that show your range. And finally, if you are in a media-centric role, include a link to your portfolio of work. Without these important additions, it is unlikely your resume will receive a second look by a hiring team. If you need help in how to put these links together ask us…we’re glad to help you in any way we can!

3 - Show us your smiling face ;) 

People connect to faces. Research proves that babies smile at pictures of other people smiling back at them versus static images. Be sure to include a picture on your resume of you. If you are applying for a pastoral position, it is always beneficial to include your whole family in the picture as well. Don’t stress….pictures do not need to be professionally taken but do need to look professional in nature. An iPhone can do a great job.  Make sure to dress appropriately and look at the camera. Your smile and countenance should match that of the position you are applying for. Awkward photos need not apply and silly photos can come across as not serious about the position.  Consider the setting and background of your picture as well as the lighting. 

4 - What about references?

There is much debate about whether to include references on an initial resume. If a potential employer is very interested in moving ahead with your application for a position, there will be a time for references in the future. References are not necessary in the early stages of the process. Including peoples names can cause unwanted phone calls to your friends and co-workers and may even violate your privacy and confidentiality if you are still in a position. The only time we recommend including a reference on your resume is if that person is a relevant reference to the church you are applying for, such as someone they respect or someone they know personally that would validate your qualifications. Have further questions about this topic? Feel free to ask us!

5 - Make a great first impression!

When you are ready to send your resume to a potential employer, always send it in a PDF form. Often times fonts, formatting, and spacing adjust in transit and what you think you put together does not translate when the other person opens it up. Make sure to make a great first impression!

Need some inspiration? We've got you covered. Below you'll find some examples of resumes that modern churches are really into. We've even included some free templates for you to use in Adobe Illustrator (if that's your thing). Not a designer? Powerpoint is a pretty fantastic tool if you need to create a clean and crisp look...or we can help you design the perfect resume to fit your personality and skill set. Send us an email to to get started building your resume. Once you've got yours all set and ready to send, check out the job postings at and send your resume to

Click the resumes and cover letters below to enlarge and see more detail:

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