Since many employers only spend a few seconds looking at each resume to find qualified candidates, you want your resume to be as succinct as possible. You should choose a resume format that is easy to scan and makes your qualifications stand out to employers. Using bullet points to explain your work experience and skills is a great way to do this.
In this article, we explain how to effectively use bullet points in your resume.
Should you use bullet points for your resume?
Using bullet points in your resume is a great way to help employers notice your skills and qualifications that relate to the open role. You can use bullet points when you want to show your responsibilities and achievements for each of your previous jobs. Your skills section is also a great opportunity to use bullet points to organize them and make them easier to read.
Download Resume Template
To upload the template into Google Docs, go to File > Open > and select the correct downloaded file.
When can you use bullet points for your resume?
Include bullet points when you are using a chronological or combination resume. Both of these kinds of resumes focus on your previous work experiences. Bullet points are not as useful for a functional resume that focuses more on in-depth skills rather than experience.
How can you use bullet points for your resume?
You can use bullet points in the work experience section of your resume. This is the part of your resume where you list all of your previous jobs that are relevant to the job you're applying to. You should list your jobs in reverse chronological order, meaning your most to least recent jobs.
Under each job, include two to four bullet points that outline any accomplishments or duties that relate to the job you're applying to. Be specific about what you accomplished, referencing specific results and data.
You can also use bullet points under your volunteer experience if you have it. You can provide details about your positions and the work you did. Also, you can use bullet points to list your skills and achievements.
Tips for using bullet points
Spend time crafting bullet points that show you are an experienced and qualified candidate. Here are some tips to get started:
- Relate to the job.
- Be brief.
- Be specific.
- List in order of importance.
- Use simple bullet points.
- Use interesting action verbs.
Relate to the job
When writing your bullet points, include accomplishments and job responsibilities that relate to the job you're applying to. If you find that some of your jobs don't relate, you may want to leave them out or try to reference similarities. One way to do this is by including soft skills used at that job that could also be used at the job you're applying to.
To save yourself time, make a master resume that lists all of your work experiences, education, volunteer experiences and skills. It can help you keep track of everything, and it's easy to pull from when making specific resumes. Since this master resume isn't specific to one job application, it may be a few pages long, which is fine since it's for your own use.
Keep your bullet points brief by only including information that is absolutely necessary. Choose details that relate to the job you applied to and make you look accomplished and skilled in your field.
Include specific details about who you worked with, what you did and why it was important. For instance, if you led a team of people, include how big your team was. Likewise, if you ran a successful ad campaign, share the specific data you collected, such as how many impressions you got. Numbers help employers have a better understanding of what exactly you accomplished.
List in order of importance
Include the most important information in your first bullet point. Continue to list things in order of importance and relevance so they stand out the most to employers.
Use simple bullet points
When choosing your bullet points, keep the formatting simple. Only use basic circles, squares or hyphens to keep your resume looking clean.
Use interesting action verbs
Start each bullet point with an action verb. Instead of using the same ones constantly, choose some more interesting action verbs that better describe exactly what you did in that role.
Here are a few interesting action verbs to use:
If you are applying for multiple jobs at once, you may have to write different variations of your resume to tailor each resume to each job. These examples will help you understand how many different ways you can write your bullet points.
- Job descriptions
Here are three job descriptions with bullet points that you can review:
Orange Media Agency | Albany, New York
Administrative Assistant, July 2018–January 2020
- Provided administrative support to senior executives to ensure smooth operations across the entire company
- Spearheaded training initiatives for new hires which included writing a 150-page employee handbook, creating training documents and scheduling manager meetings
- Composed daily reports for account executives and senior executives to help shareholders understand company goals and daily progress
University Marketing | Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Marketing Specialist, May 2016–September 2019
- Launched a marketing campaign to get more students to attend the annual acappella concert. Used social media, direct marketing and email marketing. Resulted in a 15% attendance increase from the previous year.
- Developed and implemented communication and marketing pieces, including direct mail, emails, online content, student newsletters, press releases and other materials as needed.
- Performed daily webmaster duties to ensure the university's website was up to date and accurate.
Dog Paws Palace | Athens, Georgia
Dog Handler, April 2017–December 2019
- Managed up to 25 dogs at once, making sure dogs displayed appropriate behaviors
- Oversaw the safety and comfort of all dogs in day care and boarding
- Researched and implemented a new email system to streamline communications between the day care and clients, leading to higher customer retention and higher reported customer satisfaction
- Administered the proper food and medications to each dog
Review these skills lists to see how to use bullet points:
- Database management
- Bug detection
- Customer service—Proficient
- Conflict resolution—Advanced
- NetSuite CRM—Advanced
- Microsoft Word & Excel—Advanced
- Time management
- Microsoft Office & Excel
- Fluent in Spanish