On my Resume

June 1, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 7:11 am   Category: Life

Today I am working on my Resume. The Thing is, I have my mission on there.

I have it like this:

-Volunteer Work Cebu City, Philippines 2000 – 2002
Assistant to the President; Zone Leader; Volunteer

Promoted moral concepts and family values in one-on-one and group scenarios. Recruited local people as volunteers and members for LDS Church. Worked with the local communities to improve living conditions, to build housing, to help with employment, and to teach English. Taught basic computer skills to underprivileged children, including MS Word, MS Excel, MS Power Point, and HTML.

Key Accomplishments:

• Trained and gave motivational speeches to approximately 200 volunteers over a six-month period for the purpose of accomplishing the organization’s mission

• Kept records of organization achievements and budget in Microsoft Excel

• Learned Cebuano Language, became fluent.

• Supervised and managed the activities of approximately 200 volunteers

• Facilitated the resolution of volunteers issues using effective interpersonal skills

• Coordinated all travel, transportation, and lodging arrangements for 200 volunteers

Should I have it? Is that pompous? Should I drop it?


  1. How long is your resume? I’ve been out in the work force for 8 years and it is only two pages. If this is a CV, maybe at this point that much detail is appropriate, but it looks like you are trying to fill space. Especially if the person reading it is Mormon.

    Comment by a random John — June 1, 2007 @ 7:34 am

  2. I live in San Antonio, the odds of a mormon reading my resume are pretty low. My Resume is 2 pages, on the dot.

    Comment by Matt W. — June 1, 2007 @ 8:20 am

  3. Get rid of “Promoted moral concepts and family values in one-on-one and group scenarios. Recruited local people as volunteers and members for LDS Church.” Those two sentences allow a reader to identify the specific organization for which you performed volunteer work and do not contribute to demonstrating your competence. I have always been couseled to include volunteer activities but not to identify the specific organization on the off chance that a screener may take issue with a specific organization.

    Comment by endlessnegotiation — June 1, 2007 @ 9:00 am

  4. I have reviewed a lot of resumes and hired kids your age. Ditch the entire thing and put in one line that says something like “Volunteer Service for Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.”

    Sorry, Mark, but when I got 50-100 resumes and had an hour to tear through them, whenever I got a resume that had something like this in it I immediately tossed it. Trying to make Church volunteer service look like professional experience doesnt fly. You are going for a professional job, they are interested in your professional experience and skill set. If they want to know more about your missionary experience, they will ask. They probably wont.

    And, do cut your resume down to one tight, easy to read page. I hated sifting through multipage resumes.

    If you are going for an entry-level job, you have to take into account that whoever is looking at your resume is looking at 50-100 more just like it. Keep it to one page, keep it tight, no fluff. Dont use fancy fonts, something plain, blocky and readable. And if your GPA isnt above a 3.0, dont list it.

    Comment by Kurt — June 1, 2007 @ 9:28 am

  5. matt – A lot would depend on the type of job you are trying to get.

    A few questions and comments
    1) Do you REALLY need a 2 page resume? Do you have a lot of publications to your name? Other research credits you need to list? (which also begs the question, if so – why this much detail on the mission?). I have been working in my field for 6 years (including during law school), detail about law school and undergrad and only have a one page resume (granted I tightly edit so it only requires one page).

    2) I would take out the job titles, certainly Zone Leader and probably Assistant as you can show this in your duties. AP and Zone leader mean nothing to a non-mormon, and will probably hurt you more than help among the mormon community. If I saw this on a resume, I would be wondering why in the world this was on a resume 5 years after the mission.

    3) Tailor the duties to the specific job you are looking for. It is ok to have multiple versions of a resume (I have 3, one in my sub-field, one for a sub-field I would like to bridge to, and one GP one).

    4) cut the description. Delete the para – and have ONLY bullets – Take some of the info perhaps and txfr it to the bullets. Language can go into skills/licenses section. Condense down.

    Comment by Jay S — June 1, 2007 @ 9:30 am

  6. I second everything Kurt says.

    Comment by Jay S — June 1, 2007 @ 9:31 am

  7. I agree. Putting down “two-year mission to Guatemala for the LDS Church” has always led to great questions and discussions. It’s been a great door-opener for me.

    Comment by Tim J. — June 1, 2007 @ 9:43 am

  8. I agree with Kurt here as to the description of your mission experience. (You will, of course, still want to mention that you spent two years in the Philippines. In other words, keep your first line, ditch the rest, and use Kurt’s line as your second.)

    You should also note, somewhere, that you speak Cebuano fluently. You employer likely will not need this skill set, but it is indicative of someone who is bright and can learn new things.

    Finally, I could not agree more about keeping it to a single page. The paradox of resumes — people will read more if you give them less. Truth is that people rarely read beyone the headings anyway.

    Comment by Randy B. — June 1, 2007 @ 10:10 am

  9. All:

    Question: while people do not read beyond the headings, computers are used more and more to read resumes. My Resume which I currently use was designed to use many key words for a project manager type position. Plus I have had 4 jobs in 5 years…

    So, Do I write my resume for the man or the machine?

    Comment by Matt W. — June 1, 2007 @ 10:36 am

  10. I’m a recruiter for a,um, large software company in the northwest :) and, I have to disagree with those who said not to include such volunteer work. It looks AMAZING on a resume. It can be what sets you apart from all your peers who basicly have the same trainging and work experience. What I wouldn’t do it try to make it look like it was a ‘job’. Make it a smaller blurb. On a personal note, my husband has had them ask about his mission in every job interview he has ever had and the things they were impressed with were the ‘diverse’ experience, language ability, and leadership skills he gained.

    And you are right about keywords. Your resume won’t make it to my desk unless it pulls up in my search. Once it does that though, I read them pretty thouroughly.

    Different industries recruit diffrently, so just know how yours works. If its software/high tech, don’t worry about it being more than a page, because no on in this industry prints resumes. Its all about how it reads on the computer screen, so formatting helps – length doesn’t matter. But definitly highlight your mission.

    Comment by Veritas — June 1, 2007 @ 11:20 am

  11. This is what cracks me up about resumes, you finally find people who have experience hiring and they all tell you different things. When I was looking for work I had two resumes, one I printed out and handed to people during interviews, and one I posted to databases online. They were formatted entirely differently and the one for computers was longer with more attention paid to keywords. In general, I concur with Kurt though. I would keep it on one page if it is going to be printed by anyone.

    Comment by Jacob J — June 1, 2007 @ 3:11 pm

  12. My tendency and training tell me one page is always better. I don’t think there is a problem with listing some of your skills and experience, though, from the mission. Keep it to 2-4 bullet points at most, don’t do the position titles, and find a way to get relevant info from the paragraph into bullets. I’ve never been averse to a little expansion on this experience because it IS good experience that can be brought to bear in a professional setting. Just don’t blow it up too much.

    I agree, though, that each industry is different. I am never one to say that you ought to hide it completely because international experience is often valued, because you do gain skills and have valuable experience, and because I am not one to want to hide our religion to keep others happy. We can share what we did without screaming I’M MORMON! :)

    Comment by m&m — June 1, 2007 @ 3:33 pm

  13. Kurt nailed it. To me, it looks like you are trying too hard. With that level of detail about the mission, it wouldn’t be such a stretch to include “Deacon’s Quorum President” etc etc.

    Although, on the other side, if you are going to mention that you were AP, a sample of some of the new mission programs you initiated might make quite an impression.

    Comment by Glenn — June 1, 2007 @ 5:01 pm

  14. Glenn, lol. For those who don’t know why it is funny, see Glenn’s post about when he was an AP.

    Comment by Jacob J — June 1, 2007 @ 5:33 pm

  15. I strongly disagree that it looks like you are trying to hard. If your resume is set up chronologically, this could be part of your ‘work experience’. I think anyone who leaves this OFF their resume is making a mistake. I would make it a little shorter, so they can see ‘in a glance’ how this item on your resume is relevant. But – and especially for young professionals with less relevant work experience- you probably gained your most valuable assets as an employee on your mission. It would be a tragedy not to highlight this to prospective employers. And also, Diversity is everything in HR right now and young people with ‘diverse’ experience are highly coveted. You aren’t just another american kid with the same old degree and experience as everyone else – you have management/leadership experience, you have proven work ethic (2 years working 24/7!), you have language experience, lived in a foreign country – seriously these are GOLDEN elements on a resume. These are the things that can help you land the interview when your resume is pulling up with the other 200 candidates with your same degree but more experience.

    As for length – it is NEVER more important that content. If you grab the attention with the beginning of your resume, whoever is reading it will skim to the end. Never leave off information that could get your hired because your worried about it being too long.

    Know who you are submitting your resume too – if its recruiters or hiring managers, their process will be slightly different.

    I look at thousands of resumes a week (I also used to work writing resumes), so to give you some insight let me tell you my process:
    – I do a keyword search (always the same one, usually a very long string including basic qualifications for the job, like a programming language or degree, and I search by date. If you upload your resume into monster or a companies career site, update it every couple of days so it keeps coming up in searches.)
    -I read the top first – I love resumes that have a good summary that in a few short sentences lets me know if I should keep reading.
    -Then I look at their most recent experience (always put this at the top – many times no one cares about anything but this) and see if it is relevant. I look at the company and job title and then skim for keywords (in my industry that is easier – Im usually looking for specific tools and languages). If your current job has an ambiguous title, change it to a more universal title (like program manager, consultant etc – research where your applying to and try to make it match their similar positions)
    -Then I skim for the education – I look at the degree, and sad to say it, the school. If its a top tier school I read the resume. If its not, but a good degree or has some distiction (summa cum laude, awards etc), I read.
    -Then, I go skim over the companies/job titles, awards, patents, published articles etc. on the rest of the resume for anything that stands out.
    -Then I either keep or move on.

    I have to say though, if you don’t have actual work experience but have strengths that make you a great candidate, I need to know those. The summary at the top of your resume is critical (and I would mention in there your mission experience so the reader looks for it later). If you have 10-15 years of great experience, the mission is not so important. But judging from when you went, I would say you are still at a junior level and the mission is important.

    Sorry so long, but, I have alot of advice on the subject :)

    Comment by Veritas — June 1, 2007 @ 5:45 pm

  16. PS – I also used to do recruiting in Texas. I might have contacts that could be useful to you. What type of project manager position are you looking for – what field? You can email me if you’d like.

    Comment by Veritas — June 1, 2007 @ 5:53 pm

  17. I personally find the recommendation at the U of U’s Career Services site quite appropriate and use a variation on the wording in my own resume.


    To quote:

    Volunteer Experience

    • Volunteer experiences need not be long term to be relevant. They can demonstrate leadership and teaching skills. Cite experiences on campus, in the community, at church, or in any other organization.

    • When listing an experience with a religious organization, use lay terminology rather than “church” lingo (e.g., “Volunteer Church Representative – Selected to supervise 20 fellow representatives” rather than “LDS Missionary – Zone Leader”).”

    Comment by Jon in Austin — June 1, 2007 @ 10:28 pm

  18. No resume should EVER EVER EVER be more than one page. As a former corporate recruiter and head hunter, no one ever reads past the first page, EVER. If you would like to send it to me, I would be happy to work with it.

    I disagree with the idea of calling missionary work “Volunteer Service”. It seems like you are trying to pass off what everyone knows to be a religious recruitment program as somethign it is not. Be honest, but brief.

    Missionary, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    Cebu City, Phillipines,2001-2002

    Comment by Ry Robb — June 2, 2007 @ 6:44 am

  19. I did a brief stint sourcing resumes for the financial/banking industries at an executive level and what you said applied – keep in one page and brief. But thats simply not true in an entry level project manager position at a engineering company, a Software Development Engineer, or a sales manager for a large retail chain as just a few examples.

    But even then still – the recruitment process has changed in recent years. Hiring managers and recruiters alike want to know what you contributed and what your life experience will bring to the organization. Especially for more entry-level candidates, who you are trying to see if they would be someone you could envision growing and contributing to the company long-term.

    And missionary work IS volunteer service. Calling it ‘missionary’ work flies against every rule in the book. Many people reading your resume won’t have a clue what that even means. It was a volunteer job that lasted two years – and the most important element is that hiring professionals want to know WHY its on your resume and how its relevant to how you might perform your job.

    Comment by Veritas — June 2, 2007 @ 8:22 am

  20. Veritas, I’ll send you an e-mail on monday. Thanks for offering to help.

    Comment by Matt W. — June 2, 2007 @ 12:33 pm

  21. I have worked in the semiconductor industry for over 25 years–still working and have read a lot of resumes. The #1 reason for including this on your resume is that you need to account for your time since high school if you are a NCG, (new college graduate). Holes (undocumented times in one’s history) in history are a red flag to hiring managers. The #2 reason is if your career or area of employment view the skills learned on a mission as an asset.
    I agree with Veritas–use ‘volunteer’ not missionary work–Gentiles understand volunteer, they do not understand ‘missionary work’ and you are placing information on a resume about religion which is very sensitive information. An employer cannot discuss religion in a job interview without being on very, very thin ice, because of discrimmination.

    Comment by Mac McKeen — June 5, 2007 @ 3:29 pm

  22. Some people might misinterpret “fluent” to mean that you speak Cebuano at a native level, which I highly doubt is the case. Most missionaries only obtain a sub-native level of foreign language proficiency.

    Most non-Mormon Americans know about Mormon missionaries. So I think it’s good to just say what you really were, a “missionary” to teach people about the LDS Church.

    “Volunteer” makes it seem like you were in the peace corps or something.

    Comment by John Williams — June 6, 2007 @ 3:48 pm

  23. On my resume I simply put:

    Ecclesiastical Representative
    Your mission here 19xx-19xx

    And then I put a couple line about being a volunteer and teaching English.

    I think that looks fairly neutral, yet gets the point across.

    Comment by AH — June 6, 2007 @ 8:57 pm

  24. Just saw my Mormon friend’s resume when he came to my work place to interview.

    He place his missionary experience on the near top of the page and out of date order of his other employment. It jumped out at me like a flaming orb. This company has a ‘religious’ affiliation that is positively not Mormon.

    I think it is an error, depending upon the job sought, to place in a prominent position, a religious affiliation.

    The interview person was not here, so he gets another chance – and to not print it in blue instead of black.

    Comment by Don-ola — August 2, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

  25. where i put the picture? at the last page before my name? and what size to put to my resume?

    Comment by moses — August 15, 2013 @ 7:04 am

  26. please help me!

    Comment by moses — August 15, 2013 @ 7:05 am