How to Use Bullet Points in Your Resume

Posted on Mar 10, 2009 on

ResumeFor my entire career, I’ve broken down the job descriptions on my resumes into bullet points. I had no idea I was starting a trend.

Today, job search consultants are really pushing the bullet-point resume. The main advantage is that it makes your resume easier to read, and it’s much easier to get across the most important points across to the reader. No one facing a stack of resumes to read wants to have to dig for the pertinent information.

So if your resume looks like this:

President of the United States
Washington, DC
1/2001 – 1/2009

Served as chief executive for world’s most powerful country. Presided over two foreign wars, and was Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. Served two terms. Spearheaded use of executive signing orders; ordered the curtailing of civil liberties. Misplaced a city in Louisiana. Imprisoned thousands in foreign jails without trials or due process. Supported financial deregulation that led to worst financial disaster since the Great Depression. Enjoys clearing brush, reading to children.

.. then it’s time to change it up. Don’t list everything you did on the job — just list the most important and impressive accomplishments, starting with the best:

President of the United States
Washington, DC
1/2001 – 1/2009

  • • Elected twice to highest office in land
  • • Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces in two wars
  • • Appointed two Supreme Court justices
  • • 90% approval rating after 9/11 attacks

As you can see, no negatives are listed. And there are only four bullet points — include too many, and it’s just as hard to read as if it didn’t use bullet points.

If a potential employer wants to know everything you did at a previous job, they will call you or bring you in. The resume is your opportunity to just get across the most important points. Besides, if someone is looking at your resume for a job you’ve previously held, then they already know what that job entails.

The resume is your first and best chance to impress. Use it!