Thursday, September 19, 2013

Starting with Why

Clergy job searches are different from regular job searches, in that we don't generally get to write a new cover letter for each position. In my denomination, we write a generic cover letter called a "profile essay."  If churches express interest after seeing the profile essay, it is often possible to provide them with more information, but writing a compelling profile essay is key. It is also daunting. Churches have specific needs, but profile essays need to be general. What to do?

According to author Simon Sinek, the answer is to "start with why." Sinek's TED talk on this subject, in which he expounds convincingly on how Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King have both tapped into this particular approach with great success, became a viral hit. After watching the video I decided to download the Kindle version of the book to see if it would help me in writing a new profile essay.

 To be frank, the book was a bit of a disappointment. It mostly rehashed the material he covers in the TED talk. The book purported to contain a step-by-step plan to uncovering and articulating your own personal "why," but it was too vague for my taste. I did find the TED talk video valuable, and over the course of the next few weeks, with the help of my husband, I think I did suss out my own "why." I have attached the video to this blog post for your viewing pleasure. Even if you don't find it helpful in your own job search journey, it is certainly interesting and might provide a sermon illustration or two at the very least.
I blog, therefore I am. If you liked this post and want some food for thought about church ministry, check out If you or anyone you know is looking to hire a new Pastor, check out my professional profile blog at

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