Resume bullet points help you effectively communicate your important information by capturing the attention of recruiters who scan your resume. Primarily, they emphasize your most significant achievements. When used well, resume bullet points can guide the reader, improve readability, and highlight your expertise.
The purpose of resume bullet points
The purpose of resume bullet points is to effectively communicate your skills, accomplishments, and qualifications to potential employers. By using bullet points, you can make your resume more concise, organized, and visually appealing. Here are some key purposes of using bullet points in your resume:
- Highlighting key information: Bullet points allow you to present information in a clear and concise manner. They help to draw attention to important details, such as your achievements, relevant skills, and job responsibilities.
- Improving readability: Using bullet points makes your resume easier to read and scan. Hiring managers often spend only a few seconds initially reviewing a resume, so bullet points help them quickly identify your qualifications and determine if you are a potential fit for the role.
- Organizing information: Bullet points allow you to organize information in a logical and structured manner. You can use them to list your job responsibilities, skills, certifications, or educational qualifications in a way that is easy to navigate and understand.
Overall, the purpose of resume bullet points is to present your qualifications and accomplishments in a concise and impactful manner, making it easier for employers to assess your suitability for a job.
Writing Effective Resume Bullet Points
Writing effective resume bullet points is crucial for capturing the attention of hiring managers and showcasing your relevant skills and accomplishments. Here are some tips to help you create impactful resume bullet points:
- Focus on accomplishments, not just responsibilities: Instead of simply listing your job duties, highlight your achievements and the impact you made in your previous roles. This helps to demonstrate your value and potential contributions to a prospective employer.
- Use quantifiable metrics: Whenever possible, include specific numbers, percentages, or other measurable data to quantify your achievements. This adds credibility to your claims and provides concrete evidence of your capabilities. For example, instead of saying “Increased sales,” you could say “Increased sales by 20% within six months”.
- Tailor bullet points to the job description: Customize your bullet points to align with the requirements and qualifications mentioned in the job description. Use keywords and phrases that directly relate to the skills and experiences sought by the employer. This helps to demonstrate your fit for the role and increases the chances of getting noticed.
- Start with strong action verbs: Begin each bullet point with a powerful action verb to make your statements more dynamic and engaging. Action verbs like “achieved,” “implemented,” “led,” “optimized,” and “resolved” convey a sense of action and accomplishment. Avoid using generic verbs like “responsible for” or “involved in”.
- Follow the P.A.R. framework: The P.A.R. framework stands for Problem, Action, and Result. Structure your bullet points by first describing the problem or challenge you faced, then detailing the action you took to address it, and finally highlighting the positive result or outcome. This framework helps to provide context and showcases your problem-solving abilities.
- Keep bullet points concise and focused: Aim for brevity and clarity in your bullet points. Use concise language and avoid unnecessary jargon or technical terms. Each bullet point should convey a single accomplishment or skill, making it easier for the reader to understand and remember.
Where to include bullets
Although bullet points can be used in any resume format, they are most effective for chronological or combination resumes. Meanwhile, a functional resume that includes longer paragraphs, they’re not as effective. In general, the most appropriate sections for bullet points are:
- Work experience – Under the job heading of each position you’ve held in the past, explain your duties and accomplishments in bullet points. To choose only the most relevant experience, review the job listing and pick achievements that match the job.
- Summary of Qualifications – If you include a qualifications summary at the top of your resume, list your relevant qualifications as bullets. Choose only those that align with the job posting and make a shortlist under the section heading.
- Skills – Whichever skills you possess that align with the job, use bullet points to list them. Also, remember to include relevant soft skills, like communication or adaptability.
- Education – Much like with your work history, you can use resume bullet points to present your education. That is, under the heading of your educational level, list any awards or accomplishments you have earned.
- Volunteer experience – If it’s relevant to the position, you may include your volunteer experience in your resume. Group all your volunteer duties and achievements under one section heading, focusing on those that most align with the job.
Resume bullet point examples
Here are three job descriptions with bullet points
Project Manager, July 2019 – January 2021
- Developed 5-8-year strategies that identified new market opportunities, helping to achieve organizational objectives
- Led the transition to a cloud-based practice by implementing new software; reduced labor costs by 21% and annual expenses by 6%
- Evaluated existing processes and implemented strategies that improved productivity and cut costs by 12%
Customer Service Representative, July 2019 – January 2021
- Emphasized internal and external customer service by developing new communication pathways that increased subscriptions by 35%
- Conducted 5 customer surveys per year; created an outline of the issue, cause, and resolution, and implemented the strategy to increase customer satisfaction
- Cultivated valuable relationships with key stakeholders through various communication channels, including telephone, email, and social media
Sales Manager, July 2018 – January 2020
- Doubled annual revenue in 2018 to $5 million/ year across Europe and Middle East markets.
- Exceeded the 10% territory growth goal by 30% in 2017 for the East Asia market
- Spearheaded a $3.2 million revenue and 25% market share growth in the New York branch
As with all design aspects, the overuse of resume bullet points can do more bad than good. Too many bullets can negatively impact the readability, organization, and look of your resume. By using them wisely, you can grab the reader’s attention and bring your most significant accomplishments into the spotlight.