Follow Our Simple Formula For Achievement-Based Bullet Points
Recruiters tell us that 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 convey your skills and abilities in a much more effective (and believable) way.
You'll also meet the expectations of executive recruiters.
As a result, you'll 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
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?
Whenever possible, cite relevant metrics and quantify your accomplishments to back up your claims.
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
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.
Because your resume should be no longer than two pages, you won't be able to discuss every single thing you were responsible for. Instead, focus on the most relevant and impressive information.
You should also tailor your resume's content to your target roles, ensuring that you are providing information that positions you as a strong fit.
For work experience over 10 years ago, stick to your most impressive achievements.
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?
Your resume's content can help you stand out from other similar applicants.
Once you are happy with your bullet points, check out the following articles to make sure that you aren't committing any resume writing faux pas:
- 5 Resume Formatting Pitfalls to Avoid
- 10 Words to Remove from Your Resume
- Your Resume Should Not Be Instagramable
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.
Career Transitions: A powerful combination of our document writing and career coaching services helps position you to secure a new role.
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.