Did I Manage Employees or Was I Responsible for Managing Employees? Writing Winning Bullet Points

resume tipsAn incredibly important part of the resume that applicants often overlook (guilty!) in the writing process is the bullet points listed under each of the professional positions. These phrases are more than just an expansion of your job title. They allow you to elaborate on the skills you mastered through your experiences at each job. They tell prospective employers what kinds of responsibilities you can handle and what achievements are within your reach.

There are several guidelines you can follow to make sure that your bullet point phrases meet these ends:

  1. Include 3 – 5 bullet points for each professional position on your resume.
  2. Write in the past tense for previous jobs and present tense for current jobs.
  3. Include phrases about your job responsibilities and significant achievements. Both of these phrases, if well written, should emphasize the skills you acquired through the job position. If you earned awards through your job, be sure to include those too.
  4. Start each phrase with an action verb.  The passive voice sounds terrible on a resume and should be avoided at all costs. Consider the following phrase: “Was responsible for increasing sales.” This does not provide prospective employers with any helpful information. You were supposed to increase sales, but did you? Always use action verbs and the active voice when constructing your phrases. For example, change the previous phrase to “Increased sales.” Action verbs are more powerful in emphasizing the skills you learned and accomplishments you made through the job position. Click here for a list of action verbs organized by career type.
  5. Include specific numbers. Doing so allows you to quantify the magnitude of your accomplishments. For example, change “Increased sales” to “Increased sales by 20% in 5 months.”
  6. Include specific skills. Give your prospective employers concrete evidence that you have the necessary skills for the job you are applying. For example, change “Designed the company’s website graphics” to “Designed the company’s website graphics using Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator, which led to a 22% increase in unique website visitors.”

These bullet points also provide great content to pull from when building your video resume. Not only do they capture a description of your current or previous job positions, but they also emphasize the set of skills you acquired and achievements you made though these experiences. Shorten and combine three or four of your phrases to create a concise yet informative professional skills summary.

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