A topic like this one should probably come with a warning label, so before I get started, let me point out that “boring” is all about perspective.
There are no boring jobs.
There are, however, ways you can engage with your job which are guaranteed to make it mind-numbingly boring.
If you’re an…
- Customer Service Representative
- Night Security Guard
- Data Entry Clerk
… or you’re in any other role that involves repetitive tasks, long stints of alone time, or non-stop paper-pushing, consider this:
Some of the world’s most “exciting” jobs are highly repetitive and involve seemingly mundane tasks – e.g., an astronaut flips switches while trapped in a confined space and a surgeon spends her days, well .. slicing meat while wearing ridiculous outfits.
How To Deal With A Boring Job?
The main difference between typically “boring” and “exciting” jobs is that the latter offer a higher degree of challenge and a clear sense of purpose.
The good news is that your experience of challenge and purpose are entirely within your control – which means you have the power to approach any job in a way which brings you fulfillment.
“Boring” is usually a sign that you’re not living up to your full potential.
With that caveat out of the way, I want to talk to you about how to make your seemingly pedestrian, everyday job look incredible on your resume.
Just because you’re a Call Centre Receptionist and not the SVP of Design at Apple doesn’t mean you can’t have a captivating, standout resume.
Focus On Your Purpose.
Harness the power of questions to uncover the most interesting aspects of each role.
Before listing eyes-glaze-over job duties such as “answering phones” within your responsibilities section, ask yourself – “what”, “why”, “how”, and “when”, to drill down into the specifics of your job, then incorporating your answers into the role description.
Consider the following boring job duty (answering phones), reworked to have infinitely more impact by answering “what”, “how” and “why”:
“Quickly and politely answered up to 50 customer inquiries per hour, responding to multiple concurrent questions, complaints and sales requests to build customer loyalty and support sales growth.”
Focus On Big Picture Competencies.
If you’re struggling to present a collection of seemingly pedestrian day-to-day responsibilities, shift the focus of your writing to highlight your competencies.
Take the role of Actuary, for example. It’s not difficult to see how competencies such as prudence, decision making, and influencing apply to the typically “boring” duties of an actuarial position (planning and analysis, running numbers, assessing different scenarios, presenting recommendations).
By presenting a “boring” duty (analysing) within the context of a core competency (prudence), it comes across as more dynamic and business critical:
Mitigated risk across the $3B ACME Insurance Division by maintaining a focused commitment to prudent, evidence-based planning, assessing a wide range of quantitative and qualitative data to drive sound commercial decision making.
Focus On Results.
There’s nothing boring about contributing to commercial success.
As companies restructure to become leaner and more efficient, every single role plays some part in driving top and bottom line success – even “boring” functions that aren’t typically associated with revenue and profitability.
Take time to define the exact role you play in the success of the business, be it boosting customer satisfaction, realising cost savings, or some other industry- or function-specific KPI.
Get to the heart of it by asking yourself what you were hired to do, how you delivered on that mandate, and the value that was created (or loss prevented) as a result.
Consider this example for a Proofreader at a marketing agency:
Prevented $15,000 in potential losses and preserved agency credibility with a marquis client by identifying and correcting an embarrassing error prior to printing.
Focus On Personality.
At the outset of a search, the best recruiters take the time to consider the personality traits of their ideal candidate: the innate characteristics that would allow someone to thrive in the role, industry, team or company culture.
If you’re concerned your experience is coming across as flat, uninspiring, or boring, inject interest by strategically highlighting the traits and characteristics you possess that are also highly valued in your function.
Take a hotel housekeeper, for example.
As a recruiter, I’d look for someone equally comfortable behind the scenes as they are with customers, intrinsically motivated to hit targets, detail oriented, and comfortable dealing with repetitive (and sometimes disgusting) tasks every day.
Now take this introductory sentence, written for a Housekeeper ready to step into a supervisor role. Note how far personality and professional storytelling go in elevating this typically boring job:
A professional Housekeeper with more than 5 years’ experience delighting guests at one of Sydney’s most luxurious hotel properties, I enjoy seeing the results of my efforts, competing against personal bests to deliver exceptional housekeeping services in the most efficient way possible.
Key Points To Remember:
At the end of the day, the key to presenting boring jobs on your résumé is all about knowing where to focus your efforts. And for that, you really need a strong personal brand.
A well-defined personal brand acts like a compass which points you in the right direction, and helps you decide what to share, what to downplay, and what key messages to focus on.
Have you had success using any of my tried and tested tips for making boring jobs pop on your resume? Let me know in comments below.