Super-simple hacks for effective resume bullet points

Written by: Julius Q Holmes IV
Published on: Sep 21, 2018


The secret to writing resume bullet points that get you hired is not to write them – until you’ve analyzed the job description you’re applying for. Below are some quick, simple instructions for writing killer bullet points.

1. Your bullet points need Power Words.

Most resumes start with the same, overused words which fail to separate you from the competition and don’t add any value to your resume. Power Words are high value impact verbs that communicate your value immediately before an HR Manager even reads the rest of your bullet point.

1. Your bullet points need key words.

Today’s resumes are scanned by applicant tracking software looking for specific words before a HR Manager even sees your application. This software eliminates roughly 70 percent of applications before a human at the hiring company even sees them. In order to beat applicant tracking software, be sure to reuse the terminology from the job description throughout your resume bullet points.

In the sample job description below, I’ve highlighted the words that I’d reuse if I were rewriting a client’s resume bullet points. (Check my Resume Review Checklist for further suggestions.)

Project Manager responsibilities

  • Meet with clients to take detailed ordering briefs and clarify specific requirements of each project

  • Delegate project tasks based on junior staff members’ individual strengths, skill sets and experience levels

  • Track project performance, specifically to analyze the successful completion of short- and long-term goals

  • Meet budgetary objectives and make adjustments to project constraints based on financial analysis

Project Manager skills

  • 5 years of experience in project management

  • Familiarity with SmartSheet software’s collaboration and time management tools

  • Experience with process improvement and inventory control

  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Excel

  • Excellent client-facing communication skills 

3. Your bullet points don’t have Verifiable Results

Most of my clients will have ambiguous resume bullet points that communicate what they “did,” rather than what they “accomplished.” Such bullet points leave a recruiter thirsty for more and fail to communicate your value.

Verifiable Results are empirical, achievement-oriented phrases that contain “numbers,” and an “impact.” They communicate your value by giving an HR Manager an idea of the specific ROI (return on investment) they can expect if they hire you.

Use phrases like those below – and remember that it’s okay to estimate for these numbers!

  • Reduced manual processing time by 15%

  • Increased revenue from $55k to $120k in 2 years

  • Added 30 new clients to portfolio

  • saving $10k in CPA expenses

Wrap it all together

In short, resume bullet points should start with a power word, end in a verifiable result, and are tied together by a key word from the job description. I’ve rewritten two bullet points below for you using power words, key words, and verifiable results.

Old bullet points:

  • Used data to save business on accounting expenses

  • Worked across lines of business to complete banking software updates

New bullet points:

  • Leveraged SmartSheet software to meet budgetary requirements saving $10k in CPA expenses

  • Delegated project tasks across lines of business to repair 400+ banking software defects

Need further assistance? Download my resume review checklist to make sure your resume is “job offer ready.”

Julius Q. Holmes IV is a resume writer, career development trainer, and founder of LordResume.

This article originally appeared in a slightly different form on the LordResume blog.