One of the best ways to enhance your resume is by using bullet points to set off key statements and information. Below we’ll cover bullet point best practices that help your resume stand out and catch the attention of hiring managers.
When To Bullet Your Information
Resist the urge to use too many bullets on your resume, making it harder for hiring managers to read your document and spot the most compelling details of your career. Reserve this formatting tool for your achievements and optionally for your job duties and profile sentences. Let’s look at when and how to use bullet points for each area.
Usually located in the professional experience section, achievements show how you’ve excelled in past jobs. For instance, did you create a training program or win an award? Did you streamline a process or rank high on your team? These are some of the most important details on your resume; bullet points help you draw the hiring manager’s eye to each one.
Business Change Manager, Assurant, Deadwood, SD | January 2017 to present
- Worked with senior managers to optimize procedures and initiatives, increasing revenue by about $300,000 in 2021
- Mentored and motivated a 25-person team to increase productivity by 32% last year
- Introduced service practices that raised client satisfaction scores by 30 points in three years
Job duties typically belong in your experience section, like your achievements, but these points work differently. While achievements describe your positive impact and results, duties describe your work to generate those results. They cover the areas you were responsible for, the tasks you performed regularly, the size of the team or budget you managed, and the skills you applied.
Usually, your past job duties are somewhat less important than your achievements. But they’re still essential information on a resume and can be best shown in bullet form.
Business Sales Development Manager, SelectQuote, Deadwood, SD | July 2012 to January 2017
- Performed market research to find opportunities for growth and service diversification
- Trained about 14 new hires per year on effective sales methods
- Held focus groups with key clients to gauge their evolving business needs
Put your job duties in paragraph form in three cases:
1. When they’re necessary for context but significantly less important than what you achieved in the position
2. When they’re similar and can be condensed into just one or two lines
3. When your resume is too long, and you need to save space
Your resume profile – sometimes called a professional summary – is another great place to use bullet points. Bullets are especially helpful when your profile sentences are unrelated because you’ve pulled them from different parts of your background (often the case for career changers and entry-level applicants).
Writing and Editing Professional
- Strong recent internship experience supporting editorial operations of a popular magazine
- Completing Bachelor’s Degree in English and Creative Writing from Ohio University
- Co-curricular activities include helping write and publish the university’s main campus newspaper
- Dedicated to continually gaining and applying new skills
- Bilingual: fluent in English and Spanish
When your profile points are all related, lump them into a single paragraph. This more cohesive format is usually better for senior or executive professionals whose profile points come from their recent work experience.
Frequently Asked Questions About Using Bullet Points on Your Resume
How many bullet points in a row are too many?+
While there’s no hard and fast rule, avoid more than six. If your list is running longer because you’ve been in one position for a long time or you have many impressive achievements, group your bullet points under subject categories such as “Revenue Growth,” “Process Improvement,” or “Project Highlights.”
Is it OK to repeat bullet points?+
It’s normally best to avoid repeating bullet points to keep your resume focused and concise, but there are exceptions. For instance, if you managed projects, used Agile methodologies, and collaborated cross-functionally in multiple roles, don’t omit this information in early jobs just because you mentioned it in your current job. Instead, write these bullet points differently to establish the unique context and scope of projects from your previous experience.
What is the best way to start each bullet point?+
With strong action verbs. Unlike passive phrases like “responsible for” or “tasks included,” action verbs help you get straight to the point and describe your duties and achievements concisely. Below are just some of the many great action verbs you can use:
What are the best bullet point symbols?+
The simpler ones. Understated bullets keep the focus on your information and help ensure your resume gets parsed correctly by applicant tracking systems. The standard options are bullets (•), diamonds (⬥), and arrows (⮚). Choose whichever you prefer, but stick with the same bullet style throughout your document for a cohesive look.