The Template

Every week, I maintain THE TEMPLATE, an award-winningWinner of the 2015 Plank Center Award (public relations org.) for commitment to mentorship. blog that's been viewed more than 1.5 million times by people all over the world. In every column, I provide step-by-step instruction to help you become a stronger communicator. Like I always say, "Write well, open doors!"

How to Make Any Job Look Remarkable on a Resume

resume work experience
Wake up! Your “boring” job is a golden ticket.

If Jesse Moore and Monet Eliastam told you they were “interns,” you’d think “meh, big deal.”

What if the two explained how they won a $6.4 million settlement against NBCUniversal after they interned on “Saturday Night Live”?

I bet they have your attention now.

Moore and Eliastam led the charge for thousands of “SNL” interns who believed they should have been paid for their work. The settlement elevates the duo to mythical status in the world of unpaid internships.

Even if you don’t receive a dime of the $6.4 million, Moore and Eliastam can make an impact on your career too.

How? Use strong detail to make your gig sound impressive.

How to Make Any Job Look Remarkable on a Resume

You might think your job is nothing special or, better yet, a stepping stone to an actual career. You figure “Who wants to learn about my boring job? I should play up my work ethic and personality instead.” So your resume is full of words like:

– hard worker

– team player

– dependable

Wrong. Plain wrong.

You can make any job, no matter how mundane, jump off the page. It all starts with one question:

Where’s the drama?

Every job has moments of stress or high emotion. Those are ideal opportunities to demonstrate HOW you’re a hard worker, team player or dependable. Employers are like the rest of us: they want to be entertained.

See: The Template for a Young Professional Cover Letter

Forget your job title or how “unimpressive” it might appear. Give people the drama, and watch what happens.

Here’s a Quick Example

Let’s say Jane Doe lands a job through a temp agency filing papers and answering phones at a medical practice. Maybe not the job she wants for 30 years, but it’s what she has right now.

Typical work experience on her resume:

– Answer phones and provide customer service at a medical office

– Assist people with concerns in a friendly and courteous manner

– File patient paperwork and help to keep the office organized

Again, where’s the drama? How can she add sizzle to an “ordinary” job?

Revised work experience on her resume could include:

– Number of patients she works with

– Number of phone calls she answers

– Amount of digital files she handles

The two job descriptions then sound like different people. In the second version, I focus on hectic moments in the workday and include numbers to explain how much of everything.

Now the employer pictures the applicant hustling — and keeping order — in a crazy doctor’s office. Cool under pressure, doesn’t get rattled, can handle the stress.

So…how do you add drama to YOUR resume?

Think about work experience like this: how are/were my jobs dramatic? What made them tense or stressful?

Then, bring those moments into your resume.

cheat sheet

Featured photo: Tom Stovall (Flickr)


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