6.7 seconds. According to recent studies, that is the average amount of time people spend on their first glance of your resume. So using bullets on your resume is an important way to make sure people see what you want them to see.
But using bullets requires a careful balance. Too many bullet points can have the opposite effect and look more like a laundry list.
To develop a clear structure to your resume and present bullet points with impact, follow these tips:
1. Use paragraphs for roles and responsibilities, and bullets for accomplishments and success statements.
In most instances, the bullet point is used in the Summary and Work Experience sections of the resume. For example, under the information for your current employer, job title, and employment period, begin with a short paragraph highlighting what you do and then follow it up with three or four bullet points that directly highlight your accomplishments and success on the job.
2. Be selective about what you highlight.
Consider what’s important for the job and select the most relevant points that will detail what you’ve done, how you’ve done it, and what results were made. Use bullet points on the resume to bring attention to something, but when you go beyond three or four bullet points at a time, it can come off like a laundry list. Each bullet point also shouldn’t need more than two lines in length. Keep it tight and succinct!
3. Begin with the most impressive point first.
Remember that most hiring managers will only spend a few seconds on each resume, so you want to immediately impress. Start with the most impressive point first.
4. Start each bullet point with a results and action verbs.
You want to start with the results rather than the how. For example, which is more likely to capture the reader’s attention?
- Developed daily and weekly goals to achieve 133% of sales quota.
- Achieved 133% of sales quota by developing daily and weekly goals.
5. Apply numbers to your bullet point.
For greater impact, apply numbers to your bullet points. You want to put the information in context and show results. For example, “Increased sales 300% within the first two years of product re-launch.”
6. Use it to highlight awards.
Relevant awards are always worth highlighting on the resume because it helps distinguish you from others who may have the same experience. If you’ve been recognized at Salesperson of the Year or something similar, use it in your bullet points.
An effective resume informs the employer of your experience and skills, but it also provides insight to how good you are at the job. The correct use of bullet points can help you deliver the message!
About the author
Don Goodman’s firm was rated as the #1 Resume Writing Service in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Don is a triple-certified, nationally recognized Expert Resume Writer, Career Management Coach and Job Search Strategist who has helped thousands of people secure their next job. Check out his Resume Writing Service. Get a Free Resume Evaluation or call him at 800.909.0109 for more information.
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