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Staff Transitioning| Staff Hiring

Does Your Church Resume Pass the Six-Second Test?

| 2 min read

Written by Todd Rhoades
Apr 25, 2022 10:42:15 AM


On average, whoever looks at your resume (at a church or a church search firm) will probably only look at your resume for about six seconds before deciding if you're someone they want to talk to.

Passing the six-second rule is extremely important for your church or ministry job search.

After looking at literally thousands of church resumes over the years, Chemistry Staffing Co-Founder Todd Rhoades shares his insight and five key tips that will help you pass the six-second church resume test with flying colors!


Watch the conversation or view the transcript. 



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Read the Full Transcript


Have you heard about the six-second resume rule?

It means that when someone looks at your resume - a church or a recruiter you've got about six seconds to make a good impression. And if you don't, chances are you won't get an interview. Let's talk about this.

Hi there, my name is Todd Rhoades, one of the Co-Founders at Chemistry Staffing, and today we are going to talk about what we're going to call the six-second rule. The six-second rule is essentially this...it's that you really have only six seconds to make an impression. First impressions are everything and when you're sending a resume out to a church, or a church recruiting or staffing firm, just know that your resume - when it lands on their desk or on their computer desktop - is going to be one of hundreds, lIterally one of hundreds, of resumes that that person, that search committee, that recruiter is looking at. So, it's really important that you make a good impression because studies have shown that a lot of times you've got six seconds to make that first impression, which means that in the first six seconds the person that's screening, the kind of gatekeeper, is going to make up their mind whether or not to give you a shake at this job. 
So, I want to talk about five different things that I think will help you pass the six-second test. And, again, all of these things apply to your resume, okay?

So here's the first one: Make sure that you have your name and your contact information shown very prominently on your resume. This is crazy, but last week, we had a resume turned in at Chemistry Staffing for a church job and opened up the resume, and it had no name on it. I mean, literally, the person forgot to put their name on their resume! Make sure you put your name AND your contact information. Your contact information includes cell phone number and your email address. It's always good as well to have an address on there. Not that anyone is going to send you snail mail or anything these days, but they like to know where you're at or where you're from. A lot of times they'll open up a resume and it shows no location, so I kinda wonder. And you don't want the person who is screening your resume to instantly have a bunch of questions. So, that's the first one. Make sure your contact information is very prominent. Either up at the very top or on one of the margins according to what your resume format is.

And that's number two. Number one is making sure your contact and email information is included.

Number two is make sure that your resume looks good. Okay? So, here's what I tell people and candidates when they ask, "Todd, will you look at my resume?" If it's a plain resume, I call it a plain Jane resume with just black ink on white paper. I tell you what, it looks like about 90% of every other resume that I'm going to look at on any given day. So, make it look good! There is a site that I really recommend, and you can use it for free, it's called Canva. I don't know if you've heard of it or not, but canva.com. But, if you go to Canva, you can actually look - I think they've got close to 100 different resume templates. Now, some of them are over the top. You're going to want to stay away from anything that's really over the top, but what you want is something that looks professional, something maybe with a splash of color, maybe if you're a good looking guy or gal or you just have a good picture that you can use of you or your family, you can use that and that helps you to stand out. But I would really suggest that you use a service. Something like Canva that will help you to lay out your resume and to make it look really good. Because, your resume is competing against maybe 50 or maybe 100 other resumes that the search committee might receive in any given day or two. So, that's number two. Make your resume look good.

Number three. Make sure you proofread it. Six seconds, right? The person isn't going to get time to actually read all of your resume, but when I look at a resume, for some reason. I don't know. Is it me? Maybe it's just me. If I see a typo on that page ... I mean, if there is a typo on that page, I'm going to see it in the first six seconds. Believe me, I will. So, make sure you proofread your resume. Nothing looks worse on a resume than a misspelled word or really bad punctuation. So, that's number three to help your resume pass this six-second test. Make sure that you've proofread it.

The fourth one out of five is ... I really suggest that you have up at the top, I suggest - and we have other videos that talk about this in a little more detail - I suggest that you put some type of a ministry objective. It's just a section down below your contact information or over to the side - up near the top of your resume that is a two or three-sentence statement that says exactly the type of church and exactly the type of role that you're looking for. So, I'm looking to be a discipleship pastor in a church that values people and small groups. Something like that. In six seconds, I need to be able to screen or a search committee needs to be able to look at your resume and know what kind of a role you're looking for. Because they're going to get resumes from all different kinds of people looking for all different kinds of things. The number of people that just kind of send their resume out to everybody, is incredible. So, if you can, at the very beginning, in the first six seconds, with your ministry objective up near the top of your resume, in a very succinct manner, say this is what I'm looking for, and make sure what you're looking for matches what the church is looking for. And that's a way to really hit it out of the park in the first six seconds.

Okay, last suggestion, number five. And there are more, but you've got six seconds, so, you know, five. That's one for every second almost.

The sixth one is to use bullet points. Use bullet points. I'm a big fan of bullet points. But, sometimes they can be overused. If you have 8 or 10 or I've seen up to 20 or 25 bullet points under a certain thing, that's too many. Bullet points will help make your resume scannable and readable. Particularly in that first six seconds, it's really important that whoever is reading your resume can catch the - they're not going to read every bullet point, but they're going to catch a couple of them, and if they're good, and if they're well written there's a good chance that they're going to keep your resume and not put it in over there in file 13. Remember, and we have another video on this topic as well, your resume has one person and one purpose only. And the purpose of your resume is to get the job interview. That's it. And, you've got really six seconds to make that claim to fame to see whether or not you're going to file folder 13 or whether or not they're going to actually contact you and reach out to you for that first-round interview, which is what we all want, right?

So, hey, if you have any questions about resumes, I'd appreciate hearing from you. You can leave a comment down below. And, if you could, if you enjoy this kind of content hit that little notification bell and that'll tell you when we add more videos here on the Chemistry Staffing channel.

So, I look forward to hearing your comments, and if there's anything we can do for you, please reach out. We'd love to hear from you.



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