Building a Résumé without Much Experience
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    Building a Résumé without Much Experience

    Don’t have much to put on your résumé? Look to your Church callings!

    Some basic sections that often appear on résumés are “Work Experience,” “Volunteer Experience,” “Education,” and “Skills.” Although it’s a short list, feeling like you don’t have a lot of experience in these areas can be intimidating. But don’t despair! You might have more experience than you think—especially since your Church callings can provide you with valuable experience. We fulfill and try to magnify our Church callings out of love for the Lord and a desire to help His children, but the skills we gain from doing so can help set us apart in the job market as well.

    Listing Tasks and Frequency

    Whatever Church callings you’ve had, chances are there are accomplishments and skills you learned that you can include on your résumé. Make a list of the tasks you performed in each calling and write down how often you performed these tasks and how many people were involved in them.

    Accomplishment Statements

    Next, create “accomplishment statements.” These are brief yet descriptive statements about what you accomplished during your calling. They appear on your résumé in a bulleted list underneath each experience.

    Begin each statement with an “action verb”—strong verbs such as oversaw, improved, taught, etc.

    Examples

    These are accomplishment statements based on a few types of callings and include tasks, frequency, and numbers often associated with the callings:

    • If a teacher:

      • Prepared a lesson weekly by studying manuals and scriptures and gathering resources and personal experiences

        • For the frequency, list however often you performed the task—weekly, twice a month, etc.

      • Taught a class of six 14- to 16-year-olds weekly for 50 minutes.

        • The class size and audience will depend on your calling.

    • If in a presidency:

      • Created and achieved monthly and long-term goals for the group.

      • Cared for the welfare of 30 members in the organization.

      • Trained leaders and teachers in their duties.

      • Planned and organized monthly activities for 26 people.

      • Created and followed a monthly budget.

    • If a music director:

      • Organized a weekly music program.

      • Arranged for special musical numbers given by members of the congregation.

      • Planned musical programs around holidays and events.

    • If you served a mission:

      • Set and accomplished weekly and long-term teaching and personal-improvement goals.

      • Taught an average of 16 individuals and groups each week on how to enrich their lives through personal application and study.

      • If a trainer: Trained and counseled new missionaries in teaching and adjusting to the rigorous schedule.

      • If a sister training, district, or zone leader: Responsible for motivating, evaluating, reporting the progress of, and caring for 14 missionaries.

      • If in a foreign country: Lived in [foreign country] for [length of time] and expanded my knowledge of their culture.

      • If you spoke a foreign language, make a note that you were immersed in speaking that language and the duration.

      • These examples are fairly general, but the more specific to what you have accomplished and the more tailored to the job, the better.

    Creating Your Résumé

    Add your list of callings and the corresponding accomplishment statements to your résumé. To help your callings feel relevant to your résumé, you will need to tailor your résumé to the description of the job you are applying for.

    Job descriptions almost always have key words in them. These key words are specific things that the company is looking for in the person they hire, and you’ll want to make sure to use these key words in your résumé. You’ll also want to feature your callings that most closely match the job description. If you’re applying to be someone’s assistant, highlight callings that involved organizational skills, or if you’re applying to be a substitute teacher, list callings that involved teaching.

    Additional Tips

    • List your callings under your “Volunteer Experience” section.

    • List the organization as “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

    • List the calling name as your job title.

    • Use more universal words and phrases like congregation instead of ward or branch and weekly youth activities instead of Mutual.

    • Describe organizations that people might be unfamiliar with.

      • For example, describe the Relief Society as an international women’s organization. You can refer to your ward’s or branch’s Relief Society as a local group or chapter of the organization.

    You can also apply the principles above to identify skills and experiences from other volunteer work, jobs, and activities you’ve done. It’s important to show a range of different experiences that apply to the position you wish to obtain. So, along with your Church callings, try to include as many relevant experiences as you can on your résumé. Even if you might not immediately realize it, you have a lot to offer, so don’t sell yourself short!