Resume Writing Bullet Points

Students often tell us that writing bullets is the hardest part of a resume. When writing bullet points it is important to go beyond just your “duties” at a job. One way to do this is to think of the “5 W’s and an H” rule you learned in school.

WHO – Who did your job help? The company? Clients? Customers?

WHAT – What happened with the results of the job? If you did research, was that information published? If you had to do a report what was done with that information?

WHEN – When did this happen? Daily? Weekly, Monthly? Talking about how often you did something is an easy way to show productivity in your job.

WHERE – Where did your duties occur? Did you have to travel for a job? Were you responsible for interacting with people outside of your organization?

WHY & HOW– Why did you do this? How did your job duties help or add to the organization’s ability to function.

 

Below is a basic formula for creating detailed bullet points.  Use this formula as a starting point when writing your bullet points.

SKILL          +       what you DID        +     RESULTS/OUTCOME

(power verb)   +  (job responsibility)    +        (how/why)

Example 1: Made a documentary

Example 2A: Filmed a 10 minute documentary using the x3000 camera (ex. explaining “how”)

Example 2B: Filmed a 10 minute documentary on AIDS awareness for a class presentation (ex. explaining “why”)

 

Below are additional samples of how to add content and valuable details to your resume.  The “details” will set you apart from other candidates and showcase your skills and expertise appropriately.

BEFORE

American Marketing Association (AMA)                                                                                          Fall 20XX-present                                  
Member

  • Created personal brand
  • Attended weekly meetings
  • Volunteered at service activities and fundraising events

AFTER

Member
American Marketing Association (AMA)                                                                                          Fall 20XX-present

  • Enhanced skills for future success and created own personal brand shared with 12 area employers
  • Participated in bi-weekly meetings in order to expand knowledge of several marketing concepts
  • Attended and participated in 4 service activities and 3 fundraisers in order to apply learned theory

 

BEFORE

Sal‘s T-shirt Depot, Any Town, IL                                                                                                     June 20XX-present                                  
Sales Associate

  • Assisted with inventory
  • Provided quality customer service
  • Built displays for featured products

AFTER

Sales Associate
Sal’s T-shirt Depot, Any Town, IL                                                                                                     June 20XX-present                                

  • Assisted with daily and monthly inventory of over 1200 domestic and foreign products
  • Provided quality customer service by handling customer questions, complaints, and problem solving
  • Handled over 200 cash and credit transactions, balanced drawer, and ATM accurately as part of each shift

 

An important thing to remember is to QUANTIFY. Adding numbers – dollar amount, number of times you did something, or how much of something you accomplished – shows productivity. PRODUCTIVITY IS ALWAYS TRANSFERABLE!

TIP: If you are having trouble writing your bullet point(s) focus on the basic responsibility you were doing and use the “Power Verbs” section in this book to get yourself started. (example – if your role was communication-related, go to that section in the power-verb pages in this guide and pick the appropriate word to begin your bullet point with.)