Here's how to incorporate bullet points on your resume to garner the right kind of attention
When your resume lands in the hands of a recruiter or hiring manager, they don't spend a lot of time reviewing it - nor do they read through every detail. Instead, they scan it to see if they can quickly see the qualifications they're seeking for the job.
That's why it's imperative that your resume is as concise and easy to digest as possible. Incorporating bullet points is one of the best ways to create a resume that's easy to scan.
In this post, we cover how and where to incorporate resume bullet points, with examples.
Why use resume bullet points?
As mentioned earlier, it's important your resume is easy for recruiters and hiring managers to look through quickly. When you use large blocks of text and paragraphs on your resume, it makes it difficult to scan and can be overwhelming. Resume bullet points allow you to create a resume that's easy on the eyes and highlights your skills and accomplishments in such a way that grabs the hiring manager's attention.
Where should you use resume bullet points?
Your Work Experience section is where you'll primarily use bullet points on your resume. For each position you list, provide three to five bullet points of your key achievements in that position.
If you include a Skills section on your resume, you can use bullet points to highlight each individual skill. The same goes for a core competencies list included below your resume summary.
Resume bullet points are also used in many of the optional sections you might include on your resume, like Volunteer Experience, Hobbies & Interests, and Special Projects.
Are there any sections that don't require resume bullet points?
An exception to the “no paragraph” rule is the resume summary, which sits just below your contact information. Your summary is written in paragraph form, using a few brief sentences that summarize your career highlights.
Your Education section is another section on your resume where resume bullet points aren't common, though there are some exceptions. Learn more by reading “How to List Education on Your Resume.”
How to write effective resume bullet points for your Work Experience section
Include three to five bullet points for each position. Highlight the most relevant experience and achievements from your work history.
Focus on accomplishments and achievements, rather than merely incorporating job duties and responsibilities. Avoid listing what you do (or did) from day to day.
List your accomplishments in order of importance, from most to least significant.
Only include information that adds value. Don't use vague, non-specific words or phrases like “several” or “a variety of.” Instead, use specific data and details. For example, avoid a bullet point like “Designed several HR training documents for a variety of departments.” Instead, write something like, “Designed 30 HR training documents for 10 departments within the organization.”
Incorporate plenty of numbers to show vs. tell. Quantify your achievements by incorporating plenty of numbers that emphasize and show the impact you've had. Quantifiable data helps a hiring manager to visualize your ability to succeed in the future.
Begin the bullet point with a strong action verb. Each bullet point you include should begin with a power verb, such as Crafted, Spearheaded, or Reduced. Use a variety throughout your Work Experience section to avoid sounding repetitive.
Keep them succinct. Each bullet point should be no more than one to two lines long.
Don't include personal pronouns. It's understood that your resume is about you.
Use simple and consistent bullet formatting. Select a basic bullet point type that you use consistently throughout your resume.
Work Experience resume bullet points formula
When writing a bullet point for your Work Experience section, you'll include the action verb first. From there, you'll include the project or task completed and the results, with quantifiable data when possible. Here are two formulas to reference:
Power Verb + Result + Task
Reduced marketing department overhead costs by 17% by implementing a hybrid work environment and downsizing office space
Power Verb + Task + Result
Spearheaded launch of new content management system and social media integration, resulting in a 9% increase in consumer engagement
The majority of your bullet points should include metrics whenever possible. However, there will be some instances where your bullet points might not contain quantifiable data, and that's okay, as long as the bullet point is still an accomplishment that adds value and is relevant to the job description.
Work Experience bullet points: examples
Here are two examples of using resume bullet points for a Work Experience section.
HR Generalist January 2006 - February 2023
ABC Oil & Gas, Houston, TX
Designed and launched improved supervisor training program, increasing enrollment by 10% over the prior year
Assisted employees at all levels with work-related questions and concerns, including benefits, paid time off, and career development, enhancing HR and employee relations
Led team to develop a new service award program, improving employee morale and satisfaction rating by 8%
Partnered with management team to enforce HR policies, support the performance appraisal process, and administer employee terminations to enhance management and employee interactions
Administrative Assistant February 2000 - January 2024
123 Media, New York, NY
Provided administrative support to legal department leadership team to ensure smooth operations within the department
Produced 10 - 15 weekly reports for managers, outlining ongoing clients' legal costs and fees, providing the ability to clearly communicate necessary information with stakeholders
Spearheaded development of 3 new onboarding tools, including an onboarding handbook and welcome video, to enhance new hire orientation
Always include resume bullet points!
If you were ever wondering whether bullet points were really that important compared to using paragraphs for your resume, now you know - always use resume bullet points. With the above guidance, you know why bullet points are essential, where to include them, and how to write them effectively to stand out.
If you're still unsure as to whether you're using bullet points effectively on your resume, you can submit it for a free resume review. Our team of TopResume experts will be sure to guide you so you have a resume that incorporates all the right elements to grab the attention of hiring teams!