As a recruiter, the first place I look on your resume is the bullets under your recent work experience. Then if it looks like a good potential fit, I look back up to see your resume summary and other sections.
Many other recruiters and hiring managers have told me the same thing too.
So writing great bullet points on your resume is essential if you want to get callbacks for interviews. Fortunately, there’s a specific strategy you can follow to make your resume bullets stand out immediately.
I’ll explain in the next section, and I also contacted a small group of top career coaches, resume writers and other career experts and asked them to share their best resume bullet point examples to highlight this strategy. So I’m going to share those with you too.
The best way to make your resume bullet points stand out is to list specific accomplishments and results whenever possible.
First, let’s look at what NOT to do (and what most job seekers do, unfortunately).
And then we’ll look at some outstanding resume bullet point examples so you can see how other job seekers did this successfully.
FYI, those points above are from an actual resume of mine when I was applying for jobs in a new city – from very early in my career before I became a recruiter.
And that resume did NOT get interviews. It was a total failure.
The big reason why: It’s not listing any accomplishments. It’s just stating what I was responsible for or what my boss assigned me to do.
And that’s a sure-fire way to blend in, get your resume skipped over and NOT get the interview.
So now let’s look at how those two bullet point examples above should have been written… with more data, and a focus on accomplishments/results…
Notice how those bullet point examples are very specific and use facts, data and real accomplishments.
An added perk of doing this: numbers and symbols (like “$” and “%”) make your resume stand out visually before the recruiter or hiring manager has even read a word. This is very powerful for getting your resume read (rather than skimmed or thrown out).
Now that you know the difference between listing responsibilities and listing accomplishments in your resume bullets, let’s look at examples of bullet points that have gotten job seekers interviews and job offers!
Below you’ll find 19 bullet examples from 6 different resumes, contributed by different career experts.
Some have more numbers and metrics than others, but they all focus on talking about what the person actually did and accomplished in their previous work.
- Successfully reduced worker’s compensation injuries from 20 to 2 in a one-year period through the introduction of a comprehensive employee incentive program.
- Brought organization back into federal compliance by establishing an organization-wide Leave of Absence process.
- Received corporate-wide Employee of the Year Award (pool of 1,250+ staff) and multiple Employee of the Month Awards (pool of 130 staff).
This resume quickly earned the candidate an interview, followed by a job offer, as a result of effectively communicating both their responsibilities and associated accomplishments.
Instead of focusing on what they do day-to-day (promote workplace safety and ensure organizational compliance), they highlight the end goal of their efforts (reducing worker’s compensation injuries and bringing the organization back into compliance). They then wrap it up with a final bullet that further backs up their accomplishments.
By: Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES, Career Coach at CaffeinatedKyle.com
- Earned 2015 CIO of the Year Finalist accolades from the ___ Business Journal for directing a sustainable IT and global ERP strategy that supported 2.5X revenue growth to $3.5B through acquisition and regional expansion.
- Reduced annual expenses 15% by leading cost reduction, quality improvements, productivity initiatives and infrastructure enhancements supporting business systems, core network and security.
- Launched a 5-year, $32M strategy that integrated acquisitions to IT, corporate standards, core business platforms and governance for this company with 50+ global manufacturing + sales facilities.
These resume bullets are proof you don’t need to be in sales to show quantifiable achievements. They are effective because they highlight skills key to CIO success…directing strategies that ensure IT supports executive vision for growth through expansion and acquisition, and by reducing bottom-line expenses.
By: Virginia Franco, Founder of Virginia Franco Resumes and Forbes contributor
- Introduced new document management system which improved document searchability and saved admin staff an average of 1 hour per day
- Negotiated new terms with office equipment supplier, resulting in an annual saving of £3,500
- Gained buy-in from directors for purchase of new rota management software to improve team efficiency
These achievement-driven bullet points taken from a mid-level office management professional’s CV are powerful for several reasons.
The most important factor that all points share is that they demonstrate a clear positive impact that has been delivered to the business, solely by the candidate in question – this shows potential employers the benefits they can expect from hiring this person.
These achievements are also quantified which gives readers no doubt as to what level of impact this candidate delivers, and also allows them to benchmark them against competitors. Overall these points really demonstrate the ROI they will get if they invest in this individual.
By: Andrew Fennell, Director at StandOut CV, contributor to The Guardian and Business Insider
- Created 7-year business plan and investor marketing materials leading to a successful $2.5MM round of financing
- Designed and implemented company-wide loyalty rewards program for leading Swiss retail bank with revenue exceeding $2.3BN, resulting in a 10% rise in product cross-sales
- Defined strategic vision statement for the largest gas processing firm in the Middle East, gaining board approval
You might not know it from reading these bullets, but this resume was for someone relatively new in their career as a management consultant. But by showing the size of projects you’ve worked on, or the size of companies/clients you’ve worked with, you can immediately sound more experienced and more impressive.
So when you add metrics/data to your resume, think about your own accomplishments, but also lean on the impressive figures related to companies you’ve worked with and projects you’ve worked on. Use those to make yourself sound better!
By: Biron Clark, Executive Recruiter and founder of CareerSidekick.com
- Forecasted $100 MM across accounts and product line categories by analyzing trends, inventory and order history
- Devised a co-forecasting process with clients which uncovered issues in their analytical system and merged client forecasts with ours
- Collaborated with sales and marketing departments to improve forecast accuracy, thus reducing production of extra or outdated products
It’s crucial that your resume shows off all you’ve accomplished, which goes a step beyond simply listing your responsibilities. This resume does a great job of doing both simultaneously, slipping impressive achievements in along with day-to-day duties.
This professional shows they’re able to collaborate with both teammates and clients to improve the forecasting process and its effectiveness. This wasn’t done with an empty plate, either — this person was simultaneously responsible for forecasting nine other accounts while improving the overall process. That type of multi-tasking ability won’t be ignored.
By: Sarah Landrum, Founder of Punched Clocks, contributor at Entrepreneur.com and Forbes
- Achieved over 120% of sales quota in Fiscal Year 2016
- 25% territory growth in Q4 2016 for Southern California branch
- Responsible for driving $5.8M revenue and market share in California
- Led and managed a team of 6 Account Managers, including recruiting, hiring, and training new reps on company sales process
This is a software sales executive with a lengthy career for top software firms, including Fortune 500 companies.
If you work in sales, you’re going to have an easier time finding accomplishments, data and results to put on your resume.
But in any profession, you should try to have at least some of your resume bullet points looking like this! You’ll notice that these bullets stand out visually because of the numbers, which boosts the chance they’ll get read.
By: Biron Clark, Executive Recruiter and founder of CareerSidekick.com
If you read this article, you now know the difference between listing responsibilities and accomplishments on your resume, and how to use those accomplishments to write great bullets that will get you a call with a recruiter, or an invitation to interview.
Now it’s time to start digging up data and updating your own resume in the same style as the bullet point examples above.
If you’re unsure about your own past accomplishments and results, talk to your former boss or coworkers and try to gather data.
For example, you could email a former boss and say:
“Hi <Name>. I’m trying to go back and review the results of the work I did at <Company Name>. Do you know how many new clients we ended up getting from that final marketing project I led? And if not, who could I speak with to get this data?”
It’s absolutely worth it. You’ll have those facts on your resume for your entire career now, and you can talk about it in your interview answers too.
If you follow these steps, you’ll get more interviews and will likely get hired for a better job.
As a final tip – once you’ve gathered your list of accomplishments for writing bullets on your resume, think about other ways to use them to your advantage, too.
For example, you could practice incorporating one or two accomplishments into your answer to “tell me about yourself” in interviews.
This is also useful for answering, “what is your greatest professional achievement?”
And you could also consider putting these metrics and accomplishments on your LinkedIn, especially your headline, which can help you get more attention from employers and recruiters.
The bottom line is: The more familiar you are with your past accomplishments, metrics, and results, the more confident and impressive you’ll sound.