Last month, we talked about how to order the sections of your resume. This month we are going to zoom in and talk about how to create and order the bullet points in a resume job entry.
When writing bullet points, you should take the same approach that professional sports teams and reality dating shows use to determine who is going to make the cut: invite everybody to one place, and then slowly cut people till you are left with the best.
How to Effectively Order Bullet Points
1. Start with everything, and cut it down later.
My point is at first, you want to get everything in one place. Sit down and list every single thing you do at your job. Brainstorm. Don’t judge whether each thing you write is important, that’s for later (at the rose ceremony). Get it all down. You wouldn’t believe the blind spots that people have regarding their own experience. Take the time to get everything down and really analyze your work experience. You’ll be surprised what will come to you.
2. Provide the context in the first bullet point.
Once you have everything down, try and write a bullet point that encompasses everything (sounds harder than it actually is). What you are doing here is creating context. The human brain is always trying to establish context before it can analyze specifics. So if somebody is trying to figure out context as they read through your bullet points, they aren’t actually absorbing the info, they are just looking for context clues. Obviously, you want people focusing on the bullet points and accomplishments, not getting frustrated trying to figure out what your job was.
So the first bullet point should always contain the following information:
A)The kind of company you worked at.
B)The size of the company (either by number of employees, number of clients, or some sort of output figures).
C)The amount of people you had underneath you / the amount of people on your team and what that team was.
D)In a general sense, what you did for the company (what you DID, not what you were “responsible for.”)
Once you establish this basic information, every following bullet point becomes clearer and more effective.
3. Numbers go near the top of the list.
Once you’ve established what your job was, the next thing you want any future employer to know is that you were good at that job. Do this by creating bullet points that show before and after numbers within each job entry.
Use this formula: “Increased/improved (number/metric) from x to y, by (action) using (process/method/tool).
Or, if you managed staff while doing this, go ahead and add: “Managed five staff that improved…”
You want to show your day to day activities, but the tangible accomplishments are more important. That’s why they go first. (Although you should be writing every bullet point as an accomplishment, by showing how even mundane activities created value).
4. Finally, choose your team.
Once you have all the bullet points as strong as they can be, place them in order of importance relevant to the jobs you will be applying to, with the most important bullet points on top and the least important on bottom. (While leaving the first few bullet points discussed above at the top of the list). Then when it comes time to cut content for space, you can just cut up the list. It might be hard to decide what to cut, but once you make this order, stick with it. That will help you decide what to abandon.
Finally, make sure everything makes sense in order, and that you aren’t contradicting yourself across bullet points. Ask a friend with no knowledge of your field to read your bullet points in order. They might not perfectly understand the details, but they should be able to understand what you were doing and how you added value.
Or, you could just get your friends at Resume to Interviews to do it for you. (But you knew that already, didn’t you?)
- Article Name
- How to Create and Order the Bullet Points In a Resume Job Entry
- Jason B.
- A resume job entry will very nearly always contain bullet points. It is essential you provide context and numbers if possible. Here are a few tips!