Published 9:49 pm Tuesday, January 21, 2020
By Nathan Rice
I knew it was time for me to start a search for a pastoral position within a church. I completed the five years of school needed to obtain the certificate required to serve in my chosen denomination, worked as a volunteer in a local congregation for over a decade, and held numerous other positions within various ministry organizations. I compiled my resume and started my quest to find a church where I could fulfill my calling.
My search has resulted in my resume being declined by churches throughout the southeastern part of our country. North Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama and Florida are just a few of the states where I have not received the position for which I applied. I spread out my resume farther west, but it only resulted in declinations from places as far west as California.
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It’s frustrating when you’ve prepared for a position you desire, but you are unable to find a place in that field. I know I am not alone in my difficulties finding a position. Many people go through times when they are unable to find a job in their desired field.
Not being able to find a position is disheartening, but I am determined to use this time to improve myself and continually build my resume. I encourage others who are seeking a certain position to do the same.
First, stay up to date on the trends in your industry. Subscribe to publications that discuss your industry, follow the movers and shakers in that field on social media, and speak with those who are still working in the industry as much as possible. Things change quickly in nearly every vocation, so it is important to stay up to date on what is happening in the field in which you desire to work.
Next, continue to build on your education. This can be as simple as reading books on your own or as complex as enrolling in a formal education program to earn a first or second degree. Additional education, informal or formal, shows your desire to grow in a chosen field. It can also set you apart from other applicants whose resumes may otherwise be similar to your own.
Thirdly, do what you can to remain active in your chosen field. This allows you to stay in practice and shows potential employers that you are capable in your chosen profession. One way to stay in practice is to volunteer to help nonprofits or people who need assistance. You can also ask for their permission to list them as a reference or to showcase your work in your portfolio.
I am taking my own advice, so I know that none of these steps are easy to do. Each one takes effort and adds to an already busy schedule. However, they are important if you wish to place yourself in the best possible position to obtain the job you desire.
It’s easy to give up when you receive rejection notice after rejection notice, but do not quit. Instead, prepare continually for the position you desire, stay up to date in your industry, build on your education, and remain as active as possible in your field.
I cannot say if I’ll ever be given the opportunity I seek, but I am doing all I can to be ready if an offer comes.
Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.