by Alan Collins
That’s all the time it takes to lace up your workout shoes.
That’s all the time it takes to gargle once with mouthwash.
That’s all the time it takes to leave a brief voice mail message.
And, according to CareerBuilder, twenty seconds is all the time your resume has too…
If you want it to impress a time-strapped recruiter who is swamped with them!
On average, recruiters get 500 resumes for a typical HR position. So they review them fast. To make the cut, yours needs to attract attention immediately.
And this is where the bullets points in your resume come in.
Your bullet points are eye candy.
They help sweeten and make your qualifications for the position stand out. Using bullets on your resume gives it visual appeal.
They are typically included in the Work Experience and Summary of Qualifications sections of your resume.
And they serve as an important way to hook the decision-maker and ensure that his/her eyes are drawn to the most important points you want to emphasize that will deem you a worthy candidate for the job.
With this in mind, here are three biggest screw-ups made in creating resume bullet points:
- They have no punch.
- They have no breathing room.
- They appear as laundry lists.
Let’s take these mistakes one by one:
#1 — You don’t pack your bullets with punch.
To capture a busy recruiter’s attention, creating long, boring descriptions of how you achieved your results is a turn-off. Instead get right to the point and cite your results upfront as concisely and succinctly as you can.
For example, avoid this:
- Collaborated with the new EVP to initiate employee Town Hall meetings, employee pulse surveys and brown-bag lunches to gather input from all levels of the R&D organization. Ideas were generated from a cross-functional team of researchers and staff employees and were then collated and prioritized for action. The results significantly improved documented productivity to a new record level.
Instead, do this:
- Achieved a company-record 16% productivity improvement in R&D by collaborating with the new EVP on a variety of innovative employee engagement initiatives.
As you can see, this last example cuts to the chase, highlights results and avoids the ho-hum effect of the first.
You’ll also notice that in this example, the accomplishment has been quantified too. Optically, the human eye is pulled toward numeric symbols (e.g. $, #, or %) and you should leverage this fact to the max as you construct your bullet points.
However, this is not as bad as…