You’re home now! After a long time away on your mission, you’ve finally returned. Wouldn’t it be great if the mission could last forever? As wonderful and special as your mission was, it’s time to move on to the next stage of your life. One thing that’s probably been on your mind quite a bit lately is “Where can I find a job?”
Getting a job can be tough. You could be competing with lots of others for a position. Lucky for you, you’re a returned missionary, meaning that you probably have learned many invaluable work skills. The question is, how do you market those skills to potential employers? The answer is through your résumé. To help you create an eye-catching résumé, we’ve created a list of some tips and suggestions:
- Contact information– It may seem obvious, but it is a common mistake to leave out this essential information. Make sure to put your name, phone number, and mailing address at the top where it is easy to see. Use an easily readable font.
- Put relevant information at the top– Most recruiters and employers only have a couple of minutes –seconds even –to look over your résumé. That’s why it is essential to put the most important information at the top. Ask yourself what information is most relevant to the position you’re applying for: the community service you’ve done, or the coursework you’ve taken in school?
- Keep it to 1 page– While it’s tempting to write as much wonderful information about yourself as possible, remember that employers will probably look at your résumé for only a couple of seconds. If they see you have 2 or more pages in your résumé, chances are they won’t look at the second page and might even just trash your résumé altogether. Cut out whatever you have to (least important information) in order to keep it at one page.
- Simple, professional design– Your résumé should be in easy-to-read fonts, and generally, black is the only color you’ll want to use for your font. Do not use images unless the employer specifically asks for it.
- Easy to follow layout– When it comes to making a résumé, lines are your friends. Use lines to break up different sections. Try to help the reader navigate by letting each point lead to another.
- Have other people edit your résumé- You want to catch every error and mistake (particularly spelling mistakes and typos). That’s why it’s helpful to let others take a look. They can see things that you probably can’t, whether its typos, confusing design layouts, or phrases that don’t make any sense.
- Get rid of fluffy extra stuff- Again, remember that employers are looking through your résumé very quickly, and so you need to be concise in all you write out. Don’t worry about complete sentences, particularly in your bullet points. Cut out words such as very, extremely, so, etc. Get rid of any irrelevant information.
- When talking about experience and skills, make sure you’re showing accomplishments– It’s easy to just describe menial tasks, but you need to show how what you did in your previous job contributed to the overall success of the business or company. To demonstrate –rather than stating, “I sold products to customers,” say, “I increased sales by 15%.” When talking about skills, it is an opportune time to bring in skills learned as a missionary. You can list skills like planning, meeting goals, and being accountable to superiors.
- Use strong verbs– Avoid using passive tense (was doing, is taking, was having) and replace it with active verbs (I did, I take, I had). Utilize verbs that have a punch behind them. For example, instead of saying, “My responsibility was talking to customers,” write “I assisted customers with their needs.” “Assisted” is a lot more meaningful than “was talking.” It’s clear, and direct.
Finding a job can be a stressful experience, but by preparing a professional looking résumé, you are showing potential employers and recruiters that you are qualified for the position. Do all you can to find a job, and the Lord will help you. That doesn’t always mean you’ll be accepted for you #1 choice, but it does mean that your needs will be met.