Writing Strong Bullet Points
Your bulleted descriptions are the heart of your resume, curriculum vitae (CV), and even professional profiles (LinkedIn, Handshake, etc.). They should go beyond a simple list of your duties and communicate what you learned, accomplished, impacted, or changed during your prior experience that will help you excel in the position you are applying for.
To write effective bullet points:
- Begin each bullet with an action verb
- Be specific about what you accomplished that relates to the position you seek
- Incorporate transferable skills that all employers want
Begin each bullet with an action verb
Each bullet point should start with a powerful action verb. Download a list of good action verbs for resumes.
- Avoid starting bullet points with “Responsible for,” “Assisted with” or “Primary duties included”
- Avoid personal pronouns (e.g., no references to “I,” “we,” “me,” “us,” or “my”)
Provide details about what you accomplished that relate to the position you seek. Use a
"what, how, why" format.
Begin with what you did. Be specific and simple. What did you do in your position? Examples:
- Answered telephones
- Planned an event
- Entered data into Excel
How did you perform those tasks? Review your list of tasks or responsibilities and ask yourself what skills you used. Use numbers to quantify your accomplishments whenever you can. Examples:
- Operated a multi-line phone for five busy attorneys using effective problem-solving and customer service skills
- Coordinated an event for more than 100 students by communicating with on-site liaison
- Executed financial analysis of department spending in Excel
Adding "why" helps the reader understand the purpose of your actions and see what you accomplished in your role. Examples:
- Operated a multi-line phone for five busy attorneys using effective problem-solving and customer service skills to ensure customer satisfaction
- Coordinated recognition event for more than 100 students who completed a certificate program by communicating with on-site liaison
- Executed financial analysis of department spending in Excel and wrote comprehensive report for manager
Demonstrate transferable skills
The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has identified eight career readiness competencies based on extensive research.
We might call these core skills or transferable skills. They are qualities that every employer wants in its employees, no matter their job function or level of experience.
To the extent that you can demonstrate that you have these skills in the Experience section of your resume or curriculum vitae (CV), you will be more successful in your job search.
Identify and respond to needs based upon an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information.
Clearly and effectively exchange information, ideas, facts, and perspectives with persons inside and outside of an organization.
Equity and Inclusion
Demonstrate the awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from different local and global cultures. Engage in anti-racist practices that actively challenge the systems, structures, and policies of racism.
Build and maintain collaborative relationships to work effectively toward common goals, while appreciating diverse viewpoints and shared responsibilities.
Understand and leverage technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.
Recognize and capitalize on personal and team strengths to achieve organizational goals.
Knowing work environments differ greatly, understand and demonstrate effective work habits, and act in the interest of the larger community and workplace.
Career and Self Development
Proactively develop oneself and one’s career through continual personal and professional learning, awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses, navigation of career opportunities, and networking to build relationships within and without one’s organization.