How to Write Resume Bullet Points
In the section of your resume devoted to work experience, you will list the organizations you worked for, the positions you held and dates you held them, and the types of responsibilities you had at each. Because the time a hiring manager devotes to reading a resume may be less than a minute, it’s important to not let it get too text-heavy. For this reason, your work experience should be written in easily-skimmable bullet points. This blog post will provide helpful tips for how to write readable bullet points that successfully communicate your expertise.
Tips for Writing Effective Resume Bullet Points
Convey Tasks, Responsibilities, Skills, and Accomplishments
What information should be included in a bullet point? When brainstorming your bullet points for each position, think about all the tasks you completed, the responsibilities you held, the skills you used, and the things you accomplished while on the job. Try to break them down as much as possible; it’s likely that you utilized many skills or completed many different types of tasks while working on the same project. The goal of each bullet point is to convey to the employer the particular experiences you gained in each position, which may not always be clear from the title alone. Employers want to know what exactly you did while on the job.
Use Strong, Specific Verbs
Studies have shown that hiring managers tend to read resumes in an “F” pattern. Meaning, they pay attention to the top portion of your resume (generally your name and optional summary statement), then begin to skim down the lefthand side of the page. This means that the beginnings of your bullet points contain some of the most important words on your resume. Start your bullet points with strong verbs that describe the types of actions you completed during a position as specifically as possible. For example, if you’re talking about completing reports the word “Wrote” is stronger than “Completed,” or if you’re describing the role you played while working on a project, “Organized” is stronger than “Worked on.” The words “wrote” and “organized” describe specific actions, while the words “completed” or “worked on” are vaguer when looked at without context.
Use Diverse Verbs
Each bullet point on your resume offers you the opportunity to share something new about your work experience. Avoid repeating the same verbs over and over. Even if you did similar tasks in multiple positions, try to communicate that information in new ways, or think about the various other skills you might have demonstrated while completing similar types of projects.
Quantify When Possible
Using numbers or statistics in your bullet points can offer more specific and flattering information about what you accomplished at each job. It’s better to say “Managed Twitter account, resulting in a 15% increase in followers over 9 months” than “Increased Twitter followers.” Likewise, “Managed budget” is not as specific (or as impressive) as “Managed $5 million budget.”
Tailor to the Position
If you really take the time to brainstorm, you can often come up with many bullet points for a single position. However, you will typically have to limit the number you include in order to save space to talk about multiple positions or for other sections of your resume. In order to determine which bullet points to keep, identify any keywords you can find in the job ad, on the company’s website, or from your general knowledge of the industry. Save the bullet points that utilize these keywords (or write new ones that do). Because keywords will vary from job ad to job ad, your bullet points will change somewhat for each application.
Keep it Concise
Be sure that your individual bullet points don’t start to look like paragraphs. It’s best to not let them extend over two lines, and shorter is better. You will have the opportunity to provide more detail about your work experience in your cover letter or during an interview.