The biggest thing I learned in the search process last year, was Communication. And I want to break down the communication into: Sending your Resume, Follow-up, and negotiations.
1. Sending your Resume
In the past I have just emailed or faxed a cover letter and my resume. Lars Rood helped me change my resume. Over the past 14 years, I have led camps and mission trips, spoke at many retreats and events, led worship, and many various other things outside of normal paid youth ministry. Instead of having a five page resume, Lars helped me consolidate it into small sub areas of worship, program, speaking, and multi-media. Lars also had me not only send my resume via email or fax but also send a hard copy. Every church I met with or talked with said that was how I stood out over the hundreds of applicants. Very few people send their resume in as a hard copy. Lars pointed out to me that it takes ten seconds to email a resume, but it actually takes time and effort to buy resume paper, print it out, fold it, and mail it. And that was one of the best tips he gave me. I also enclosed in my packet to the churches a folder that broke down my different areas of youth ministry along with an audio or dvd of me speaking and leading worship.
I always would send an email and call the head of the search committee and the staff person to make sure he/she received my resume.
Churches at this point separated themselves from me being interested or not. Many of the search committees did not have a time frame, so they were very slow. Several I did not interview with because it took too long and I was already into final rounds with other churches.
After having an interview I always sent a hand written thank you note to the Senior Pastor as well as the search committee. I also sent an email and would sometimes call to personally thank them for their time.
The best interview processes at several churches was when they would weekly call me or email and let me know where they were in the process. But the sad thing is that was only about 3 churches. The other churches I had to call or email to find out if I had made it to the next round.
This was a problem with several churches I was very interested in. They put out a job search, a job description but failed to have a final number of what their package would look like. Many churches want years of experience and education but are not willing to meet the packages of someone who is married and has a family. Several offers were very embarrassing to try to negotiate. Others were very willing. My hope and prayer for all churches currently looking for someone is that they take care of the youth workers. I really feel that if they treated the negotiation process and gave better packages and benefits, we would not see as high of a turnover in youth ministry as we currently do.