Most of us don’t look for them. Those annual times where we have to engage in a physical health check-up. It’s really a check-in. Why? Because in most cases – during the year – our bodies will let us know when there are things that are not ‘in gear’. It is a complete blessing to only have to visit a doctor once or twice a year for a check-in and nothing is going “wrong”. That’s something to be THANKFUL for!
A physical health check-up works to see how well our body – internally and externally – is performing and functioning.
In the same that way that we have a physical health check-up, our careers need a regular check-up.
This regular career check-up works to see how well our career (and career tools) are performing and functioning.
With our physical health, our check-up will more than likely include (at a minimum), our vitals (heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, and the like), body weight, body fat, check our blood, our bone structure, movement of our appendages, our eyes, ears, mouth, skin, lunges, nervous system with speaking and walking, and any other labs. They’ll also review our family history, our current goals, our vaccinations, and current lifestyle choices.
Of course, there are also gender-specific exams that for the women include, pap smears, mammograms, and pelvic exam. For men, it may include prostate screening and testicular exam.
Regardless of gender, these exams are invasive and can feel very uncomfortable.
Likewise, our career check-ups can feel uncomfortable and invasive, especially if we have someone else helping us review it.
So, what’s needed for a good, balanced, and thorough Career Check-Up?
These 8 Documents should involve your Career Check-Up:
- Your Updated Résumé (and Curriculum Vitae)
- An Updated General Cover Letter
- An Updated List of References
- A Philosophy of Ministry Statement
- A History of Addresses
- List of Individual Job Accomplishments
- Copies of Your Credentials
- An Updated Credit Report
Your Updated Résumé (and Curriculum Vitae)
It is a common belief that a résumé will get you a job. That’s never true. A résumé specific job is to get you an interview. The interview is what provides opportunity for you to get the job. A résumé provides a summary of your skills, experiences, work background, and professional accomplishments. It is important for this document to be accurate, factual, and updated. There are 3 types of résumés that you can provide: chronological, functional, and then a Combination/Hybrid of the first two. The type of position and opportunity will provide a context for the type of résumé that you should present. Although there are some exceptions to this, curriculum vitae’s are submitted for jobs in academia, scientific research, and medical fields, are credential-based, providing a comprehensive (and often lengthy) listing of one’s education, certifications, research experience, and professional affiliations and memberships and are generally longer than résumé.
An Updated Cover Letter
According to Resume Genius, a cover letter (sometimes called a covering letter) is a one-page document written to express why you’re the best candidate for a job. It’s always paired with a resume, and should: (A) Highlight your relevant experience; (B) Showcase your familiarity with the company and their goals, and (C) Convey a bit of personality. It should also be very well-written and be both professional and conversational.
An Updated List Of References
How embarrassing would it be for you to get to the final stage of a job opportunity, and as they are checking your references, one has outdated contact information, another one mentioned that they are no longer in the role they were formally, or another one references that they haven’t spoken to you in several years and isn’t quite sure what you have been “up to”. This would be embarrassing for you and probably speak more to your credibility as a viable candidate for this new organization. This scenarios are all avoidable. Your references should be professionals who can authentically speak to your work, character, credentials and future impact on a great organization. This list of references should include their most recent contact information, as well, as, their approval to be listed as a reference. NEVER list someone’s name without their permission AND confirmation of their positive reference on your behalf. If you can’t provide a list of at least 3-4 quality references, you may not be ready to transition to a new job, without first proving your work, credibility, and character at your current job.
A Philosophy of Ministry Statement
Beyond your resume, your potential employers want to know what you value, what’s important, your perspective on life matters, theological matters and the like. In particular, in ministry roles there is the need to know not just what you value, but what your values are. A strong Philosophy of Ministry document can provide context to these questions and more. Coming up with a philosophy of ministry isn’t about conjuring up some profound thoughts worth publishing in a book or writing an academic thesis. A philosophy is best if it is brief, readable, and personal. Simply put, it’s a brief description of why you do ministry the way you do it. It’s not what you do in ministry. That’s your vision and purpose. It’s not how you do ministry. That’s your strategy. The philosophy of ministry states the why behind it all. Why do you do what you do? I think that’s a pertinent question for us to ask, no matter what flavor of ministry we may be involved in. Why do we do it? The answer to that question can help you become more effective in your ministry role, as well as more passionate, more organized and more intentional.
A History of Addresses
A potential employer seeing your history of addresses sends many messages. At a minimum, it suggests your stability, your willingness to be a solid employee with a credible background. It also lets us know where you’ve been, which enables an employer to see what you’ve been exposed to. Further, for an employer who will pull your credit and financial history, it will enable them to match and confirm what they have found on your credit reports.
List of Individual Job Accomplishments
Beyond your resume, it is important for you to have a list of things that you’ve accomplished while serving in any role that you’ve served. This list will both empower you to be grateful, but also reflective of your impact. Each one of these accomplishments also have stories and moments of impact attached to them. Providing these stories provides context for many interview questions. It also further positions each candidate for critical thinking about where they have been.
Copies of Your Credentials
So, you listed your degrees, certifications, awards, and recognitions. Where is your proof? Having physical (and scanned) proof of these degrees, transitions, certifications, awards, and recognitions provides further evidence of the consistency of your life story and validates what you’ve provided on paper in your resume, cover letter, and biography.
An Updated Credit Report
Your credit report is your financial resume. It provides a snapshot of what you’ve done with the financial aspect of your life. This doesn’t always cover the whole story, but it provides a glimpse. Further, you having a copy of your credit report will ensure that you’re not caught by surprise at anything that a hiring officer may mention. It further empowers you to know what your financial position is, know what gaps you need to fill, items you may need to pay off, dispute, and clear off of your credit report. This level of empowerment and information also enables you to be the best candidate possible.
This check-up can feel invasive. It also ensures that you are positioned to be as healthy as possible. You always want to put your best foot forward.