Tips for the ThM – Part 13 Writing the perfect resume(s)

Most of us will at some point need to find a job. Sad, but true. In academic circles, there is no doubt that the best way to land the right job is to know someone involved in the process. (That’s how I got mine.) Lacking that, you need a good resume. Actually, as this post points out, you’ll probably need a couple. The market for academic positions is so competitive that you really need to be able to present yourself as a viable candidate for various kinds of positions (i.e. don’t focus exclusively on positions for specialists on the book of 3 John). But, to do that effectively, you need to tailor your resume to highlight your qualifications for different kinds of positions.

Suppose that you’ve done extensive work in both Old and New Testament studies, but your preferred job would be in New Testament. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, unless you don’t mind waiting a while to find a job, you probably won’t want to exclude Old Testament positions (or multi-disciplinary positions) as well. However, you don’t want to distribute a resume focusing on your New Testament skills if the school is looking for an Old Testament professor. So, you will need different resumes that will highlight different areas of your background.

And, that’s what the author of the above post wants you to do. She argues that you need to balance the need for multiple resumes tailored to highlight the most important aspects for your academic (and ministerial) preparation with the limited amount of time you have available. So, she recommends that you approach the job hunt with at least two active resumes. If you try to create too many, you’ll burn yourself out. Approach the process with just one, and you’ll limit your opportunities.

But, to go back to what I said at the beginning, you are your best resume. If you are hoping to find a job at the end of your academic journey, get out there and meet people. Attend conferences, present papers, kiss babies, hand out candy, and buy advertising space on billboards in Times Square. Or, just make sure that you are networking effectively. The more people you know, the better your chances of finding the job at the end of the rainbow.

About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

Posted on May 13, 2010, in Th.M. Program and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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