From time to time I post a question that comes into the blog for YOU to answer. What advice would you give this youth pastor who is asking some tough questions about hiring an older youth worker. Was hoping you could share your thoughts in the comments, too. Weigh in!

I just have a simple question … beyond the obvious (stamina, “cool” factor, cost? etc.), why is it so many churches are reluctant at hiring youth pastors nearing 50 with 20+ years of student ministry experience? I obviously fall into the camp. Oddly enough I feel like I am pastoring and leading volunteer leaders, staff and students better (and more wisely) at this age than I did when I was younger. Additionally … the credibility with parents comes in having my own HS and JH student living in my home.

Thoughts? Weigh in!

JG

This is a review of a few posts we dropped on the web a few months ago.  With so many of my youth ministry friends out of work it seemed appropriate to revisit them. Here are the links to a five post series on tips to help get a job in youth ministry as well as things that you should be doing now while you have a job…you never know when God will call you away or when the hammer will drop.

Are there things that you did not see in these post that were helpful to you in your search?

PART 1
PART 2
PART 3
PART 4
PART 5



Once you have a portfolio ready (the stuff we have been talking about this week) you can start your job hunt.  I guess you can start the hunt sooner but if you don’t have anything to submit to the churches you think are a fit you might become frustrated.  You maybe try cramming every thing we talked about the past week in to an afternoon and send out stuff that does not look the best or represent you well.  Be patient and do it right the first time.

When you are ready to search, exhaust your network.  For example; Call your denomination’s headquarters and see if they have a placement program, call your former college or seminary’s career development department, look for a search firm or headhunter, talk to former professors, ministry partners, youth workers, etc.  Exhaust your networks, they are there, you need them…use them (don’t pester them, but use them).

And while you are doing that try these sites…

By far my three favorite youth ministry job search sites are:
Simply Youth Ministry Tools – I love that they have a covenant that churches have to agree to before posting their position.
Youth Specialties – Since it is free to post a job here you will find everything from 10 hour internships to jobs at mega churches. You might have to do some sifting before you find what you are looking for but this site has tons of job postings.
Church Staffing - This is my favorite because it is a site that a church has to jump through some hoops and pay to post (like Simply Tools) but it always seems to have 40-50 youth pastor job openings.

In addition to searching through hundreds of youth ministry job opening, you are able to post your resume on the Church Staffing and Youth Specialties sites.

Here are a few more:
http://www.churchjobs.net/jobs/listings/joblistings-youth1.html
http://ymarchitects.com/jobs
http://www.churchjobfinder.com
http://www.youthpastor.com/jobs
http://willowcreek.churchstaffing.com

Try searching Christian college or seminary job boards:
http://www.denverseminary.edu/job-board
http://my.gordonconwell.edu/ministrylist
http://seminary.bethel.edu/placement/mn-youth
http://documents.fuller.edu/career/search/churchsearch.asp 

Look for search firms (I have not worked with these firms, check them out before you dive-in):
http://vanderbloemen.com
http://www.theshepherdsstaff.com
http://ministersearch.com

In addition to praying (alone and with your spouse) and fasting, I think it is important to utilize all 5 of this week’s job hunting tech tips. For more great tips on job hunting and getting hired, check out “The Indispensable Youth Pastor – Physical.”

If you need some help with the hiring process, call my friend Jake at Simply Youth Ministry Tools, 520.661.9846. He is a great resource. There is also a new tool from Mark DeVries and Jeff Dunn-Rankin called “Before You Hire a Youth Pastor Resource Pack – Physical.”

 

Your Digital Footprint

Your facebook is a representation of you, but you know that.  If you still have a MySpace page floating out their how does it look?  What are you tweeting? In the hiring I have done, I have made an extra effort to “Google” the people we are serious about. Make sure your social network pages represent you well.  What content are you tweeting? Videos are you posting? What pictures are on your facebook page, flickr, Google+?  What can a semi-tech savvy employer learn about you from your blog?

These are all great tools to assist you in presenting yourself to an employer…and remember, they are looking at them whether you know they are looking or not. A personal webpage is a great resource for the job hunt but make sure it looks good, I would rather go without a webpage than have my info out there on a shotty looking site.

A simple search of me found everything from a personal website to twitter to an ebay profile.  A good employer will do this because they know you represent them.  Don’t misrepresent yourself because you are desperate to get work…Search yourself and clean it up or delete it.



I am the thirteenth worst administrative person I know. Being self-aware, I have added some tools to my life to bridge the gap.  Tools like a smart phone, iPad, laptop, paper, pen, post-it notes, reminder apps, calendar apps, phone reminders, and Evernote. (If you have no idea what Evernote is click here to learn more.)

Evernote is a dynamic note taking system that lives in the cloud and it is FREE.  Evernote can help you keep all the conversations you are having organized. For example; if you have applied to 15 different churches it’s a good idea to know which churches you have contacted, where you are in the process, and if that process ends with a rejection letter you do not accidentally reapply later.

Setup…
Create a notebook called “JOB HUNT” and add a new note, naming it with a specific churches’ names.  In each notebook keep a timeline, critical connection information (contact person, other people you have spoken to, phone number, address, city, state, phone number, email addresses, etc)

Something like (click for larger image)…

or

You do not have to use Evernote but I think it is a better system than a spread sheet or a word processor document or a folder with a bunch of word processor documents.  Regardless, this should be a huge help in your communication with churches and in your sanity.  In addition it will help make sure you do not duplicate what you have done, it is also a good way to know when to contact a church that has not spoken to you for an extended period of time. Botton line here…write down everything.

How else do you see this helpful?
What else would you add to make this more helpful?

Record, record, record!!!  This is one of those near impossible things to do when you are looking for a job with a job.  If you have no teens to speak to how will you be able to teach in front of teens? If you are recently unemployed your church probably will not let you come back to teach.  So…record, record, record…record multiple talks! If I am hiring you I want to know you have more than one talk and because you have more than one talk you might think the “one” recording you have is not as good as it could be.  If you record for a month or two you will hopfully get a couple talks you are excited to share.

Record Video…
I have not been asked for a CD in about 5 years, so I recommend recording video.  If you want audio you can always pull it from the video, but if you only have the audio of a killer talk you can’t fabricate video.

Find a Host…
You can put your best videos on DVD but you will be better off uploading them to a site like youtube or vimeo. Vimeo has a “Plus” membership for $59.95 a year (see all the perks you receive). Videos hosted on these sites can be easily sent and instantly received, no waiting on mail delivery. If you want to keep you videos private you can lock them, look at what I did here with this message.  It is private and needs a password for viewing.  I have clips live on my website (brandonearly.com) for churches and camps to view so they see me in action before they choose to hire me for a week/weekend.  But I also have a few full message available under lock and key…why?  I don’t know…probably just because I can.  CD’s and DVD’s are good but Video and MP3′s are better…do both hard copies and downloadable.

Side Note…
I have clips of me on my site, those are helpful to show I’m a story teller when teaching but for a job hunt send/have available full-length messages. This is a better way to show a potential employer who you are.

 



I have meet with several youth workers who are currently looking for a job.  It seems that there are a lot of youth workers looking for a job and not a lot of youth ministry positions available.  With the market in the church world looking as dismal as employment everywhere else I want to share a few tech tips that will help you be more prepared that most and stand out a little.  Before I get into this, remember that I am giving you tech tips, I am not a professional human resource person.

Also, these are great things to create while you have a job because, 1) Some of these tips are near impossible to do without a job and 2) If you need to start a job hunt you want to hit the ground running, not spending days or weeks compiling content.

Let’s start with the basics, the résumé.
If you are looking for some writing tips check out this site. About 2 years ago I did an exhaustive search for a junior high director, I was blown away at how hard it was to get to know a potential candidate.  Résumés were sloppy, unimpressive, too long, incomplete, etc.  Maybe colleges are telling their graduate to mail a résumé but I want it to come to my inbox.  I was blown away at how many résumés came by snail mail and how many were jumbled on my computer.  Remember, your résumé might contain a unique font, a special header, or you may own a different software version than the person you are sending it to (ever open a MS Word document from someone else and it was not formated correctly…this could be a font or software version issue).  You do not want this to happen with a potential employer.

Once you have your resume ready, save it as a PDF document.  If you don’t have the software to do this, just Google “Document to PDF,” you can do this for free.  A PDF will freeze your formatting and fonts so when your résumé is opened it will look exactly the way you saved it on your computer. I am sure there are a few other ways, but PDF is a computer standard and anyone with a computer should be able to open a PDF document.

To save as a PDF try to “save as” PDF or print to PDF.  If your software will not do wither of these try this free software called Cute PDF. It is not a good idea to use an online converter like this. If you are using unique fonts, chances are their system will not.  The best results will happen on the computer where the résumé was written.