Are you up for a challenge? Show me one bullet point from your resume and I'll tell you how strong your resume is. And how many interview invites you're getting. And how long your job search is going to last. (You get the gist.)
The difference between strong resumes that get attention converting to interviews and job offers vs. weak resumes that lead nowhere is one single thing: the strength of resume bullet points. But I have good news. Writing a strong, attention-grabbing, achievement-focused resume bullet is simple. It's a matter of using tried-and-tested formulas and following essential resume writing tips.
By applying resume writing techniques and formulas used by professional resume writers outlined in this article, you'll write better resume bullet points.
And by doing that, you'll 10x the impact of your resume.
Better resume bullet points = a better resume
By the end of this article, you'll know how to transform all your bullet points into persuasive, strong, accomplishment-driven statements. You'll learn how to infuse each bullet point with impact, crafting them into powerful mini-narratives that highlight your unique strengths and contributions.
Ready? Grab your resume, and let's make the most of it together.
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The Importance of Strong Resume Bullet Points
When it comes to crafting a resume, lots of people make the mistake of focusing solely on the resume format or overall impression, neglecting the importance of each individual bullet point.
However, bullet points are the heart of your resume. They make the difference between a bland resume and an outstanding one.
Why Resume Bullet Points Matter
Starting with the obvious: Bullet points help to break up the text and make your resume more visually appealing and easier to read.
Why does this matter? Well, recruiters and hiring managers often sift through hundreds of resumes.
So, to speed up the reviewing process, they don't read every single word written there. (Shocking, I know.) Instead, they skim resumes, focusing 98.7% of their attention and time on the information provided in the bullet points in the work experience section. (Side note: Find out how employers actually read resumes, shared from a recruiter's perspective.)
Those succinct, attention-grabbing bullet points are your best—and sometimes the only—opportunity to make an impression and convince them you're the best candidate for the job.
Also, employers want to see specific examples of how you've contributed to previous companies.
Using achievement-focused bullet points helps you show it in the most efficient way, as well-crafted bullet point can provide this information in a way that is easy to understand and quantify.
What Strong Bullet Points Can Do For You
If you think of your resume as a collection of carefully-selected bullet points that showcase your skills and experience, it makes sense that the bullet points included can make or break your resume's success.
Each bullet point serves as a window into your professional world, a snapshot of your achievements and capabilities. It's the difference between catching the readers' attention and getting lost in a sea of bland, forgettable job applications.
Strong bullet points can make your resume more memorable and increase your chances of getting hired. By highlighting your accomplishments and skills, you can demonstrate to potential employers that you have what it takes to succeed in the position for which you're applying.
Plus, strong bullet points can help you stand out from other candidates who may have similar backgrounds or experiences.
By showcasing your unique achievements, you can differentiate yourself and show that you bring something special to the table.
Weak vs Strong Bullet Points
Picture this: You're a brilliant project manager applying for a senior project management position.
And you know that hundreds of fellow project managers will apply for the same role.
Guess what would happen if you all would fill your resume with vague, weak bullet points such as:
managed project teams
completed projects on time
led cross-functional initiatives
Well, let's just say that your job application would blend in with the sea of mediocrity.
These vague and generic bullet points do little to highlight your unique skills and achievements.
They fail to capture the attention of hiring managers and make it difficult for them to distinguish you from the crowd. Plus, they don't do justice to your experience. (And let's face it, they are a bit boring, aren't they?)
When faced with a stack of resumes, recruiters are searching for candidates who stand out, who have a track record of success and a clear ability to make a difference.
And it's through well-crafted, specific, and impactful bullet points that you can make your mark. So, how can you improve those bullet points? Instead of resorting to these generic statements, let's rewrite them with precision:
spearheaded and successfully delivered a complex project, overseeing a diverse team of 20 members, resulting in a 15% increase in operational efficiency and saving the company $500,000 in costs
orchestrated the seamless completion of multiple projects, consistently meeting aggressive deadlines and surpassing client expectations, resulting in a 95% client satisfaction rate and securing $2 million in contract renewals
led cross-functional initiatives to streamline processes, resulting in a 30% reduction in project timeline and a 25% increase in team productivity
By replacing those vague statements with specific details, quantifiable results, and showcasing the impact of your actions, you transform your bullet points into powerful statements that grab attention and instantly put you at the top 1% of all candidates who applied for the job.
Wondering how you can do the same thing with your resume content?
Follow these essential tips to make the most of your resume bullet points.
Want to perfect the entire work experience section? Check out this guide on how to describe work experience on your resume.
Essential Tips for Stronger Resume Bullet Points
Emphasize Your Achievements
When listing your job responsibilities, nothing makes a bigger difference than highlighting your achievements.
Instead of just listing what you did, focus on what you accomplished.
Use action verbs to show how you made a difference in your role. For example, instead of saying "Answered customer phone calls," try "Resolved customer issues over the phone, resulting in a 95% customer satisfaction rating."
It's high time to say goodbye to your outdated,
Use Action Verbs
Using strong action verbs will make your bullet points more impactful.
Avoid using weak verbs like "assisted" or "helped." Instead, use power words that emphasize the result, like "accelerated," "created," and "streamlined."
These words convey a sense of action and accomplishment.
Adding numbers to your bullet points is a great way to quantify your accomplishments.
Use specific numbers to show the impact of your work.
For example, instead of saying "Managed a team of employees," go with "Managed a team of 10 employees, resulting in a 15% increase in productivity."
Keep it Short and Simple
Remember, your resume should be easy to read and understand.
Keep your bullet points short and to the point.
Use simple language and avoid jargon. Stick to one or two lines per bullet point.
By following these key tips, you'll create effective bullet points that showcase your achievements and make a strong impression on potential employers. Let's recap:
Use strong action verbs
Add numbers to quantify your accomplishments
Keep it short and simple
Want to learn once and for all how to actually create a successful resume? Head to resume cheat sheet.
Use This Simple Resume Bullet Point Writing Formula
Now, the advice as above is rock solid. But nothing helps more than a plug-and-play formula that helps you actually apply these tips, right?
This information right here is what resume writers charge 3 to 4 figures for: the 4-part resume bullet point writing formula that takes any bullet point from "meh" to "wow."
The best part? You can apply it yourself in less than 10 minutes to get your resume in the top 1% every time you apply for a job.
Here's the game-changing formula:
ACTION VERB + QUANTIFIED OUTCOME + 'Linking phrase (e.g., by, through, or using)' + YOUR ACTIONS
Let's put it into practice and see how this simple formula can improve any bullet point 10x.
Bullet Point Examples
Example of a Resume Bullet Point for Sales
Weak: responsible for developing a sales strategy
Average: developed a sales strategy and increased revenue
Good: developed a new sales strategy and increased revenue by $1.5M YoY
Amazing: increased revenue by $1.5M YoY by developing, implementing and managing a new sales strategy
Here's the breakdown of the amazing bullet point that entails the key four elements of the resume bullet point formula:
increased revenue by $1.5M YoY
by developing, implementing and managing a new sales strategy
Example of a Resume Bullet Point for Administration
Weak: responsible for maintaining records
Average: maintained records of the finance department
Good: maintained records of the finance department and decreased data-retrieval time by 80 hours per month
Amazing: saved 80 hours per month for data retrieval by modernising the record management system of the finance department
Here's the breakdown:
saved 80 hours per month for data retrieval
by modernising the record management system of the finance department
Example of a Resume Bullet Point for Customer Service
Weak: responsible for answering customer calls
Average: handled customer service and resolved customer queries
Good: handled 10-15 customer queries per day and resolved issues with a 4.8 out of 5 satisfaction rating
Amazing: earned 4.8 out of 5 customer satisfaction rating by successfully resolving 10-15 customer queries per day
Here's the breakdown:
earned 4.8 out of 5 customer satisfaction rating
by successfully resolving 10-15 customer queries per day
Now, go ahead and apply this to your resume. Then, come back to do one final thing - tailor your resume bullet points to the job you're applying for.
Tailoring Your Resume Bullet Points for the Job
When it comes to creating a strong resume, even the best, most perfectly written bullet points won't have the desired impact if they're not carefully selected and relevant to the job. So, tailoring your bullet points to match the job is the final and crucial step in the resume writing process. Here are some tips to help you create bullet points that are tailored to the job:
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Research the Company and Job Description
Before you start crafting your bullet points, research the company and job description to get a better idea of what the employer is looking for.
Read the job description carefully and take note of any specific requirements or qualifications mentioned.
You can also look at the company's website and social media channels to get a better sense of their values and culture.
This will help you identify the key skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job.
And by doing so, you'll be able to tailor your bullet points to match the job and stand out as a strong candidate.
Highlight Relevant Skills and Experiences
Once you've done your research, it's time to start crafting your bullet points.
Make sure to highlight your most relevant skills and experiences that match the job description.
Use strong action verbs to describe your accomplishments and focus on quantifiable results whenever possible.
For example, instead of saying "Managed a team of employees," say "Led a team of 10 employees, resulting in a 20% increase in productivity."
By highlighting your most relevant skills and experiences, you'll show the employer that you have the skills and experience they are looking for in a candidate.
Rearrange Bullet Points
This is a simple and powerful yet often overlooked step. When crafting your bullet points, think about the order in which you present them.
Rearrange your bullet points so that the most relevant skills and experiences are listed first.
Start with the skills and experiences that match the job description and move on to other relevant accomplishments.
By doing this, you'll grab the employer's attention right away and make it clear that you have what it takes to succeed in the role.
Take Out Irrelevant Details
Finally, make sure to take out any irrelevant details in your bullet points.
This may feel scary. Often, adding more content to your resume feels like a better move than taking something out. After all, you don't want to miss any important information and risk on losing the opportunity to show everything you've done.
But, remember this— Four to five strong, highly relevant bullet points are more effective than 10 bullet points with little to none relevance to the job. So, stick to the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job and leave out anything that doesn't add value.
For example, if you're applying for a marketing role, you don't need to include your experience as a server at a restaurant unless it's directly relevant to the job.
By taking out irrelevant details, you'll make your bullet points more focused and impactful.
Done? Amazing, I hope you're happy with how your resume turned out.
Now, before you save it, go through the list of the common mistakes and double-check your resume bullet points to ensure your resume is flawless.
Common Resume Mistakes to Avoid
When crafting your resume, it's essential to pay attention to the details.
Avoiding common mistakes can make all the difference in securing the interview for that job you've always wanted. Good news is that, if you followed all the tips above, you should've already created a resume that will work perfectly. Just in case, here are three common mistakes you should avoid when creating your resume:
Spelling and Grammar Errors
Spelling and grammar errors are one of the most common mistakes job seekers make on their resumes.
It's needless to say that these errors can make you appear unprofessional and decrease your chances of landing an interview. (Speaking of which, my all-time favorite typo is "Dedicated to pubic service" instead of "public service.")
Take the time to proofread your resume, and consider asking a friend or family member to review it for you. You can also use tools like Grammarly to help catch any errors.
Including Irrelevant Information
Another common mistake is including irrelevant information on your resume.
While it's important to showcase your skills and experience, it's essential to keep it relevant to the job you're applying for.
Don't include information that doesn't relate to the job or skills required for the position. Keep your resume focused and targeted.
Focusing on Job Duties Instead of Achievements
And finally, something we already covered, but it's so important that it needs to be mentioned one more time... Many job seekers make the mistake of listing their job duties rather than their achievements.
But remember, employers want to see how you made a difference in your previous roles.
So, instead of simply listing your job duties, include specific achievements and accomplishments that demonstrate your skills and abilities.
Quantify your achievements, using numbers and percentages wherever possible.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you'll create a stronger resume that highlights your skills and experience, making you a more competitive candidate for the job. What's best, you'll create content so good that you'll be patting yourself for your amazing achievements.
Pick your new resume now! Head to ByRecruiters resume shop.
Now, go ahead.
Apply these essential tips to your resume and create a strong job application document that will stand out from the competition and increase your chances of landing your next job.
Strong bullet points make all the difference in your job search success.
If you want to create a resume that puts you in the top 1% of all job applicants every time you apply for a job, remember to:
Use strong action verbs to showcase your achievements.
Focus on quantifiable accomplishments.
Keep the format clean, simple, and easy to read, while avoiding common resume pitfalls like irrelevant information or excessive length.
Tailor your resume bullet points to the job you're applying for.
By taking the time to craft well-written and impactful bullet points, you'll make your resume more visually appealing, highlight your accomplishments and skills, and increase your chances of landing the job you're targeting.
Bookmark this article, so that you can have it at hand any time you need to work on your resume.
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Ana is a former recruiter, HR consultant, and founder of ByRecruiters.com. Her career advice and job search tools have been featured in Yahoo News, Jobscan, A Better HR Business, Starter Story, Best Colleges, and other global media. Since 2018, over 8,000 professionals worldwide have used her resume templates to land new jobs. She's on a mission to help 80,000 more.