My resume for the distinctively Christian sector is almost the same as my resume for the secular nonprofits, but there are some very clear differences. For one, I remove the terms pastor, Christian, and ministry from my resume for secular organizations. I also use the term Executive Director rather than Corps Officer in my employment history regarding The Salvation Army, because most people outside of The Salvation Army understand the term Executive Director when they haven’t a clue what Corps Officer means. Every micro-culture in society has its own intrinsic language and terminology, but outside of those groups using those terms instead of the broader understood terms would only lead to confusion by the Human Resources (HR) person reading the resume.
I know that the point of the resume is to ensure that the organization’s HR person can match the position that I am applying for with my experiences. If I choose to use terms that don’t match the position, most likely it will lead to confusion. If the HR does not recognize the title that I used in a previous position as equal to the title being applied for, chances are they won’t keep reading my resume. Besides it really is the same duties and responsibilities even though the title in one organization did not perfectly match the title in the other. HR personnel see thousands of resumes and they are looking for key matching titles, position descriptions, and successes.
There are many varying thoughts on what a great resume is supposed to look like and what it isn’t. I had tried re-writing mine about a hundred or so times on my own. I bought a book on it and followed several outlines that I had found in them. I tried many variations. Then I even asked for opinion on www.LinkedIn.com and for almost two months it was one of the highest discussion segments. Hundreds of people commented and gave opinion. Some very valuable, and some not so much so, but most were good and I considered every one of them as I spent thinking and reworking my resume.