I was talking to a very frustrated youth worker yesterday and he was lamenting over his so far fruitless job search. Here’s a clip of what he was saying:
I need some encouragement and advice. I have applied to many places, but no matter where I send a resume the response is almost always the same, or very similar. I don’t have enough “experience.” The problem is all I can get are internships and it seems no one values that as authentic experience. I just haven’t had someone be willing to take a chance on me, and I’m at a point in life where I either need to give up on being a youth pastor, or someone has to take the risk. I just am having trouble knowing what to do, or how to take it all in.
This is a tough situation to find yourself in – you need experience, but need someone to give you a job so you can get experience! Feels like the ultimate circular reasoning with a great youth worker caught in the middle. As I was processing this cycle this week, I wanted to unpack a few of the things that might be happening in this situation. Here’s a few ideas:
The church genuinely needs someone with more experience
There’s a chance that the church just got burned by an inexperienced rookie. Maybe they have had a string of short-timers who came in with lots of great ideas and little stamina for the long haul. They want someone they can trust, and you don’t appear to be it. Maybe this isn’t a risk-taking church and genuinely wants someone who is proven previously and chances are will deliver again here.
You failed to sell what experience you do have
In some cases it isn’t your actual experience, but how you pitched your experiences to them. It is possible you actually have the experience in the areas they are looking for but it wasn’t represented well on your resume or in the interview. Reflect on what they might have seen or not seen and how you can better align your resume’s details to what a church is looking for.
They sensed you weren’t a learner
This one is a tough pill to swallow and almost never will they say this to your face – but maybe they caught something you said that told them you weren’t someone who was willing to adapt, learn and grow with their leadership. You wouldn’t have gotten the interview if they weren’t somewhat interested, but something didn’t click after that. Argh.
It is an excuse for something else
Maybe you simply weren’t a fit. Maybe the “not enough experience” line was actually an excuse. Maybe they didn’t think you would gel with their players, or you weren’t what they were expecting from paper to in person.
Here’s the key: whatever the reason, this isn’t the church for you! It is OK to learn what you can from the situation and simply move on. It can be frustrating to be caught in this vicious circle, but God is guiding your next steps and has the perfect place for you, just keep being faithful as He opens and closes doors.
What other options are there in this situation? Would love to know your thoughts in the comments!