Should Your Mission Go on Your Resume?
Most resume pros recommend omitting religion from a resume. But for returned missionaries this creates a problem.
Employers will be curious about the gap on your resume. If they don’t ask about the gap, they may assume the worst (e.g., you were fired from another job).
So, in many situations it’s appropriate to include your mission on your resume.
Know your audience. Does the employer know anything about LDS missionaries (other than that they knock on her door)? Check the employee bios online for clues that other LDS employees work at the company.
Does it Relate? Does your LDS mission experience relate directly to the job? Language skills and international experience are your most valuable assets. Bragging about your mission experience in terms of: communication, hard work, and management, will be a tough sell.
Weeding Out. Some RMs don’t want to work for an employer who doesn’t like Mormons. These RMs prominently display their missionary experience to send a message to potential employers that they are LDS. This approach is okay, but once an employer has the opportunity to get to know you, he will often look past his prejudices.
A Compromise. Frequently, RMs strike a sort of middle ground. They put their mission experience in the “Interests” or “Other” section, towards the bottom of their resume. By not listing the mission as a job qualifying experience, he, or she allows the employer to easily ignore the mission, or bring it up.
Be Ready. Whatever decision you make, be prepared to talk about your mission. Even if it’s not on your resume it’s likely to come up. Be diplomatic about your response. Employers, would never admit this practice, but they may ask about your mission to see what kind of tone you take. If you are too “preachy” they might think twice about hiring you.
If you include the mission as “experience,” be ready to explain how your mission in Bolivia can help their googi berry juice pyramid scheme.
Sample Resume Clauses and Descriptions
If you decide to include your mission on your resume, DON’T place it in the work experience portion of your resume. It should be placed in the “other” or “service” category.
Below are a few examples that can be adapted according to your needs. Make sure to be descriptive and completely honest.
LDS Mission, Carlsbad, California ——- Church Representative 2009-2011
Community Service, Missionary ——- 2005-2007
Missionary, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ——- 2005-2007
Descriptive Key Words
- Church Representative
- Community Service
- Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Examples for Describing “Organization”
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- LDS (probably not a good idea to use an abbreviation, unless you’re in Utah)
Examples for Describing Missionary Experience
- Trained other missionaries
- Educated and taught people about the church
- Communicated with a variety of individuals
- Door-to-door experience
- Coordinated activities with religious and civic groups as Public Relations Representative
- Obtained Fluency
Examples for describing “Service”
- Taught English classes
- Built homes for impoverished families
Explore other articles about work and school for the returned missionary.