How Do Your Resume Bullets Stack Up?

John Krautzel
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Since applicant-tracking robots have taken over the hiring process and automated the job search of thousands of companies in the United States, candidates for jobs have to learn to get past the automated overloads while submitting a great resume for humans to read. Enter resume bullets, a style necessitated by the way humans quickly scan information. When you want to impress a hiring manager with your resume, bullet points are the way to go.

Strong resume bullets showcase your top skills and draw the attention of a person's gaze right away. Because the bullet points highlight your best attributes, leave the boring, mundane details of your professional life to the nonbulleted text.

Prioritize What's Most Important

Your most important skills and accomplishments go toward the top of the page. That's because people start reading at the top and work their way down. Fashion three to four resume bullets that highlight your career, and make a career snapshot of the largest projects you completed or the highest accomplishments you achieved. This could include something like:

‌• Oversaw team of 50 people who diversified markets to increase market share 10 percent quarter-over-quarter for five straight years.
‌• Led a complete revamp of the company computer system serving 2,000 employees among 10 offices nationwide while completing the project in just three months.

Of these two, put the better one first on the page. The top one shows more verifiable details, so that one should go first in this example.

Show Hard Numbers

In a couple of other top-shelf resume bullets, list some of your major responsibilities without giving details of which particular position these responsibilities came from in the past. However, you need to back up those responsibilities with hard numbers. In the previous examples, you showed your responsibilities by overseeing a team or leading a complete revamp of a computer system. Adding numbers gives a tangible weight to your accomplishments and makes your skills real.

Be Concise

Resume bullets should tell a story in as few words as possible. If the employer wants to know more, the hiring manager can ask you for additional details. For example:

‌• Completed and compiled statistical analyses of all digital marketing campaigns over three years to deliver reports to CEO, CFO, COO, CMO and senior VPs while presenting in a boardroom-style atmosphere.
‌• Compiled reports of digital marketing campaigns for three years and delivered to company executives every quarter.

Both of these bullets say the same thing. One has 30 words, and the other has 16. It may not sound like much, but every word counts when it comes to a succinct, one-page resume.

Explain Why You Had an Impact

You need to do more than just say you accomplished something in your bullet points. You must explain why your accomplishment impacted your previous employer, such as:

‌• Directly oversaw comprehensive digital marketing campaign that increased website traffic 45 percent in six months while leading to a 30 percent increase in revenue.

This bullet point shows your responsibilities within the scope of your job, and also how it impacted the company in two relevant ways.

Resume bullets aren't just a short compilation of your career. They point to the most important aspects of your hard work over the years.


Photo courtesy of Christian Heilmann at Flickr.com

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