The purpose of your resume is to convey you will excel at the job you’re applying to by describing your experiences, background, and unique achievements.
This is not an easy task, especially when you have to fit it all in writing on one page through short, descriptive, and notable sentences — the bullet point.
Let’s break down the bullet point to best position yourself to demonstrate you’re the best fit for the job.
2 Types of Resume Bullet Points
Resume bullet points come in two flavors, they’re either a description of your responsibilities, the work you actually did or, they show your achievements as a result of your work.
1. The “Work Experience” bullet point
This tells the resume reviewer the work you did day to day, a description of your responsibilities. This is the type of bullet point that shows you have relevant experience.
For instance, if you’re in customer service, you may have a bullet point like:
- Successfully close 100 customer support tickets per day and prioritize user feedback for product teams
Or, if you’re in marketing, one of your experience bullet points may look like:
- Develop go to market strategies for new product launches and manage email, social media, and SMS communication channels
If you have experiences or have had responsibilities the job posting specifically calls out, make sure you include them in your Work Experience bullet points.
While Work Experience bullet points are necessary to show you have the ability to do the job, they don’t differentiate your resume, at all.
Think about it, if you’re in sales, marketing, product, engineering, customer service, business operations, or virtually any other role at a company, you have team members who have similar responsibilities. In addition, think about the hundreds, if not thousands of other companies with employees in your same role.
Your Work Experience bullet points don’t differentiate your resume, but the results you’ve achieved do.
2. The “Achievement” bullet point
Achievement bullet points capture the results of the day to day responsibilities you’ve described in your Work Experience bullet points.
The Achievement bullet points, which show how well you do your job, differentiates your resume.
Even if your Work Experience bullet points hit all of the buzz words in the job description, it doesn’t mean you’re actually good at your job.
If you’re in marketing and you say you’ve led go to market strategy for a product, that’s great, but was it a success? Does the work you do actually lead to good results?
In your achievement bullet points, provide quantified results to prove that if you’re hired, you’d be good at the job.
If you’re in customer service, here’s an example of an Achievement bullet point:
- Helped increased user engagement of commenting feature by 8% as a result of surfacing customer confusion and providing improvement suggestions, which were implemented by the product team
This type of bullet point shows you’re effective at your job and actually contribute to improving the product/business/company.
3 Quick Resume Bullet Takeaways
1. Aim for 1:1 ratio of Work Experience to Achievement bullet points
Far too often, a resume doesn’t have enough Achievement bullet points. It reads as a list of things you do at your job, which is fine, but this is something every other resume has. To stand out, show that you’re actually good at your job with solid Achievement bullet points with quantified results.
2. Use relative metrics to quantify your results to show your impact
Aim to use metrics like “Increased [metric e.g. sales] by X%” instead of raw numbers.
For instance, if you said you grew the number of social media followers to 5,000, I don’t know if that’s good or not. What if you started off with 4,800 followers? Instead, if you use a relative metric like, “Grew social media followers by 50% to 5,000…” then I know it was a significant achievement.
3. Include a company descriptor with a credibility indicator
Insert a little highlight of what your company does with a quantified descriptor to give the resume reviewer more context. This is especially valuable if your company isn’t well known.
You don’t have to have a separate bullet point describing your company, but a clause could be inserted in your first Work Experience bullet point. Something like:
- Owned all marketing channels for Acme Corp, a cloud based phone service provider with over 10,000 paying customers, including email, social media, and SMS channels
Even if you work at a well known company like Google or Facebook, insert a description of your product or division:
- Owned all marketing channels for Google Fi, a phone plan with over 30,000 paying customers, including email, social media, and SMS channels
A concise company or product description with a number to demonstrate its credibility really helps the resume reviewer relate to your experience.
It’s your job to make your resume standout
Remember, resume reviewers take only a few minutes, maybe even only a few seconds to review your resume.
Don’t make your resume a wall of text with just boilerplate descriptions of your day to day responsibilities.
Focus on crafting Achievement bullet points with numbers to show the quantified impact of your work that catch the eye of whoever is reading your resume.