Using Bullet Points To Improve Your Resume (With Examples)
Updated December 12, 2022
Writing a resume that immediately captures a hiring manager's attention can increase your chances of earning an interview or job offer. Understanding how to format your resume effectively with the use of bullet points can help distinguish your resume from others.
In this article, we discuss using bullet points to improve your resume and how to craft bullet point statements, and we provide successful examples for each resume section.
Why use bullet points to improve your resume?
Use bullet points on your resume to include information in a way that's easy to read and understand. Using resume bullet points helps break large chunks of information into short, manageable pieces. Hiring managers seldom have the time or energy to read a resume that's written entirely in paragraph format. For example, most recruiters may pass on a resume that includes a 100-word paragraph that details an applicant's entire career history. Instead, they prefer to see a brief list of the candidate's previous job positions with two to four concise, informative bullets under each entry.
When to use resume bullet points
You can use bullet points to improve every section of your resume, including:
When sharing your educational background, list each of your educational institutions and include bullets that detail the degree you received, your major, awards you received and leadership positions you held. Using bullets for this section allows you to highlight the most relevant elements of your educational career. Depending on the job you're applying for, you can use bullets that emphasize either your academic achievements or your success in extracurricular activities.
The bullets you use in your work history section are the most important bullets on your resume, and it's crucial to use them effectively. On a successful resume, you may typically list two to four relevant job positions you held in the past. Under the job title and employer name, include two to four bullets that highlight your work-related accomplishments. These bullets all begin with a strong verb and show how you specifically and directly influenced the success of your former employer.
Under this heading, you can create a bulleted list of some of your most impressive and relevant professional and personal skills. Using a bulleted list of skills makes it easier to customize the bullets to suit a certain job application. Depending on the job and its requirements, you may edit and replace certain skills in your list with others that make you a more qualified applicant. Consult job listings and descriptions before submitting your resume to find keywords that inform which skills to include.
How to use bullet points on a resume
Now that you know a little more about how and why bullet points can be helpful, we can look at several key pointers for using bullet points in your resume. Here are some tips:
1. Organize your information
Professionals who work in the hiring process typically read dozens of resumes every day. They appreciate a resume that communicates information in an organized and easy-to-read manner. Arrange your bullets from most to least important so your reader gets the most relevant information as quickly as possible. Make sure each bullet connects to the rest of the list and offers pertinent information. An easy-to-read resume can increase your ability to impress the reader and earn an interview or position.
2. Be consistent
When writing your resume, make sure each section looks somewhat similar. Maintain the same fonts and font sizes for each section heading and set of bullets. For the actual bullet points themselves, use a standard round or square bullet or a hyphen. Using unique symbols or icons can cause confusion, and they may not translate if the reader opens the resume file with different software. Keeping your bullet lists uniform ensures the reader can focus on the more important information.
3. Show your accomplishments
Bullet points allow you to communicate your most impressive professional accomplishments in a highly efficient manner. Under each of your job history entries include two to four bullets that detail your previous work performance. Make these bullets full sentences, each beginning with a strong action verb written in the past tense. Aim for each bullet to show a direct measurable result that occurred because of your work in your previous roles. Include specific numbers or other data that show how you impacted the company or organization.
4. Edit your bullets with each application
Using bullets makes it easy to edit your resume to fit a particular job opening. Create and maintain a file on your computer that has different lists of your skills and job accomplishments. Before submitting your resume, you can copy and paste specific bullets from this document to ensure that you include the information most relevant to the specific job requirements. Read over the job description to find keywords that can help you decide which of your bullets makes the best impression on the reader.
Resume bullet points examples
Here are some examples of effective bullet point statements for each section of your resume:
For the “Work History” section
The bullets for the word history section are the most complex and the most crucial. Before writing, examine sample resumes and resume templates to get an idea of what to include in your bullet points. Try to use specific data and statistics from your past positions to prove your value as an employee. Here are some examples of some acceptable and excellent work history bullet points:
Provided creative activities for children in an after-school care facility
Coordinated creative activities for 50+ children ages 5 to 10 that provided intellectual and physical stimulation in a secure and enjoyable environment.
Instructed and mentored new hires in the use of the cash register
Provided one-on-one cashier training to a total of 24 new employees over three years, which included how to operate the cash register, complete transactions and successfully communicate with customers.
Led a highly successful and profitable marketing campaign
Initiated and led a marketing campaign that resulted in a sales increase of 23% over 18 months
To help you understand the different data you can include in your bullet points, here are some more miscellaneous examples:
Negotiated updated terms with company equipment vendor, resulting in an annual saving of $3,500
Brought production department back into federal compliance by implementing an organization-wide Notification of Absence process
Provided personalized and above-standard care to a ward with 28 pediatric patients
Acting under the supervision of a senior project manager, developed an inventory records software application that contributed to 3 start-up companies increasing their quarterly profits by between 10% and 16%
Managed and supervised a team of six project managers, which included recruiting, hiring, and training 18 new employees on company sales processes and protocols
Worked with a team of eight programmers to design and build 18 websites that are currently operating in 21 countries
Improved the average test scores of each of my classes by an average of 12% over six years
Responsible for raising $58,000 in charitable donations from company affiliates in 2015
Created a five-year strategic plan to invest in higher-quality marketing materials which lead to a $1.5 million increase in the organization's profits
For the “Skills” section
Remember, to ensure that the skills you choose to include suit the specific job opening. A resume suited to an assistant copywriter job can include skills like these:
Written and verbal communication
Ability to work autonomously
If you were applying to work as an IT technician, your skill set list may look more like this:
Proficiency in the Java and Python software languages
Skilled in time management
Skilled in customer service
Experienced team leader
For the “Education” section
Here are two examples of informative educational background sections:
Washington State University
Graduated 2016 with a Bachelor's in Mass Communication
Summa Cum Laude
President of the SBGA – two years
Secretary of the Youth Politics Society – one year
University of South Florida
Earned a master's degree in cybersecurity – Fall 2012
Graduated with honors and a 4.0 GPA on 52 credit hours
Phi Theta Kappa and Alpha Chi
Awarded the Leslie Jones Academic Achievement Scholarship for the second year
Served as Treasurer for the campus Computer Science Professions Association
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