career-advice

How To Write Standout Resume Bullet Points That Land Interviews

Matt Glodz
How To Write Standout Resume Bullet Points That Land Interviews

Follow Our Simple Formula For Achievement-Based Bullet Points

One of the biggest mistakes people make on their resumes is simply listing the tasks they were responsible for without explaining their accomplishments.

When you submit your resume, always remember that you won't be the only applicant who can realistically do the job.

To truly differentiate yourself, you need to go beyond simply describing what you did on a day-to-day basis.

We explain how to craft bullet points that demonstrate the tangible value you bring to an organization, helping you stand out from other similar applicants.

By structuring your resume’s bullet points as described below, you'll be able to convey your skills and abilities in a much more effective (and believable) way.

As a result, improve your chances of landing interviews.

The Two Types of Resume Bullet Points

On your resume, you want to include a combination of achievement-based and task-based bullet points.

1) Task-Based Bullet Points

Task-based bullet points describe your skills and what you were mainly responsible for in your position.

Examples of task-based phrases may include:

  • Prepared tax filings
  • Drafted investment memoranda
  • Conducted interviews

You’ll likely need a few task-based bullet points, as they help readers understand the primary function of your role.

2) Achievement-Based Bullet Points

Achievement-based bullet points, on the other hand, provide concrete examples of the impact you made on the organization you were a part of.

We recommend incorporating as many achievement-based bullet points into your resume as possible.

This structure is the most effective way to truly convey your skills and initiative.

The Formula for Achievement-Based Bullet Points

Achievement-based bullet points are made up of three components:

1) Main point

2) Example

3) Explanation

By weaving these three components together, you will end up with powerful content that is more convincing and engaging to read.

Keep this simple formula in mind as you continue reading:

Main Point + Example + Explanation

Part 1: Main Point

Your main points are the things you did day-to-day.

Main points can include statements like:

  • Recruited and interviewed candidates
  • Made sales calls
  • Wrote consulting reports
  • Analyzed profit and loss statements
  • Assisted customers

Part 2: Example

Your examples take your main point one step further to make them more specific.

In other words, how were the day-to-day tasks you identified specific to your role within the company?

  • Recruited and interviewed candidates for entry-level analyst roles
  • Made sales calls to current and potential high-net-worth clients
  • Wrote consulting reports analyzing the market suitability for new hotels
  • Analyzed profit and loss statements for the beverage division on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis
  • Assisted customers to determine the right product for them

Part 3: Explanation/Elaboration

Your explanation, or elaboration, ties what you were doing into its impact on the company.

If a recruiter were to read your bullet point, you want this portion to answer the "so what?" question for them.

In other words, what was the purpose of what you were doing?

The bullet points below combine all three elements we discussed:

  • Recruited and interviewed candidates for entry-level analyst roles, helping expand the department by 20%
  • Made sales calls to current and potential high-net-worth clients, consistently exceeding sales goals by 15%
  • Wrote consulting reports analyzing the market suitability for new hotels resulting in five new properties being added to the company's property portfolio
  • Analyzed profit and loss statements for the beverage division on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis to identify any discrepancies, ensure accurate reporting, and determine areas for improvement
  • Assisted customers to determine the right product for them, increasing customer loyalty and satisfaction scores from 7.5 to 9.6 over a six-month period

It should be clear how each of the examples above highlights a specific accomplishment while still mentioning routine tasks.

How Many Bullet Points You Should Write For Each Position

You should aim to have anywhere from 4-6 bullet points for each position.

Your most recent (or most relevant) positions should contain the most in-depth information.

For your earlier experiences, you may want to stick to the key points.

Why?

1) Recruiters are most interested in the last five to ten years of your career history.

2) If you're like most candidates, you gained increasing responsibility throughout your career.

If that's the case, you are more likely to have made a bigger impact in recent years than when you were still in an entry-level role.

Questions to Ask Yourself If You Hit Writer's Block

If you’re starting to write your resume and feel stuck, start by making a list of your day-to-day responsibilities.

Then, ask yourself questions such as the following to help you identify where you can add additional information.

  • How many people were you managing? In what context?
  • What kinds of analyses did you conduct? How did the company use them?
  • How much were you able to sell?
  • By how much did you exceed sales targets or performance goals?
  • Were you able to automate or make any work processes more efficient? How much time did they save?
  • What specific strategies or tools did you use to help you meet your goals?
  • Did you prepare any sort of written materials? What kind? Operations manuals? Guides to best practices? Training tools?
  • Did you collaborate with any other internal or external departments? How? What resulted from these collaborations?
  • In the greater context of your company, how was your work adding value? What decisions did you help drive?
  • Did you organize meetings or events? How many? How often?
  • Did you represent the company at any external meetings or conferences? At which ones?
  • Were you responsible for creating budgets, forecasts, or other types of financial analyses? How accurate were they? How large of a budget were you managing?
  • Were you using any industry-specific tools or software programs? To do what?

About Resume Pilots

Resume Pilots is an award-winning executive resume writing, career coaching, and outplacement firm. Our previous clients include CEOs and senior executives at the world's leading companies.

Here's how we can help you:

Resume, Cover Letter, and LinkedIn Writing: After a one-hour phone consultation, one of our expert writers will prepare your top-quality personal marketing materials from scratch. 

Resume Content Review & Resume Editing: A professional pair of eyes will look over your existing resume to catch any errors and advise on areas of improvement.

Career Transitions: A powerful combination of our document writing and career coaching services helps position you to secure a new role.

To learn more, book an introductory call here or email team@resumepilots.com.

We're a proud member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. All of our writers have studied in the Ivy League and other top-tier universities and have solid industry experience.


SIGN UP TO LEARN MORE


About the AuthorMatt Glodz


Matt Glodz is the Founder and Managing Partner of Resume Pilots and a Certified Professional Resume Writer.

After studying business communication at Cornell University, Matt worked within Fortune 500 companies, where he noted that qualified candidates were frequently denied interview opportunities due to poorly written documents.

At Resume Pilots, Matt combines his business and writing background - which includes prior work for a Chicago Tribune publication - to craft resumes that give his clients the best chance of landing interviews. He works with clients ranging from CEOs to recent graduates and has been writing resumes for over eight years.


Related Articles

Expert Advice: How Long Should A Resume Be?
How many pages should a resume be, you ask? Our general guideline is that less is more. A one-page resume is ideal, but two pages should be the absolute maximum. Most importantly, no matter the length, it needs to provide enough evidence to prove that you’re a strong candidate for the role.
Read More
Your Resume Should Not Be Instagramable in 2020
Last year, we came across an article in The Wall Street Journal titled “Résumés Are Starting to Look Like Instagram—and Sometimes Even Tinder.” We share our insights on the best resume formats to use and why you should avoid graphic resume templates.
Read More
5 LinkedIn Tips For When You're Short On Time
With so many of us already feeling overwhelmed with social media through constant push notifications and never-ending scrolling opportunities on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter alone, LinkedIn sometimes ends up on the back burner.  Here are five tips you can quickly implement to make sure that you’re capturing as much value from LinkedIn as possible.
Read More