Whether you are pursuing your dream career, next desired role, or promotion, crafting a compelling resume is often a critical part of the journey. Polished bullet points or “accomplishment statements” are the centerpiece of a resume that performs well in the recruiting process. This article will help you develop effective bullet points on a resume and avoid common mistakes.

Understanding the Role of Bullet Points in a Resume

Bullet points are the primary way to communicate your most recent and relevant professional accomplishments and experience. They should contain clear and concise descriptions to show the results of your work and the scope of your impact in a role.

Unlike a paragraph format, bullet points allow your recruiting audience to quickly scan and identify your accomplishments while determining whether you are a good potential fit for the role. You can also create a more active tone by using a bulleted format on your resume.

The Anatomy of an Effective Bullet Point

Brevity is key

Since the typical first review of your resume lasts fewer than 10 seconds, brevity is essential. Your bullet points should include specific but succinct language to convey your achievements. This delicate balance represents the science (being specific) and the art (being succinct) of writing an effective accomplishment statement.

Action verbs start the show

Rule No. 1 for bullet point writing is to start with strategic action verbs that set the tone for your achievements. Action verbs demonstrate your focus on results and ability to take initiative. They also add to the readability of your resume, not to mention showing your communication skills.

Quantify achievements

Using measurable performance results and data points to quantify your achievements is the most persuasive way to attract your reader’s attention. By adding dollar amounts, percentage improvements, and other numerical data, you will gain credibility and interest from potential employers.

Relevance over quantity

Not all work experience and accomplishments are equal. Your most recent and relevant achievements will carry the most weight as a job applicant. Be sure to identify and address the most critical job requirements with your bullet points.

How Many Bullet Points Should You Use?

Per job entry

A range of two to eight bullet points per job entry is usually best. If your list of bullets appears long, consider breaking them into smaller groups with section headers. It is also best to use more bullet points when describing your most recent, significant, and relevant roles.

For skills and certifications

Skills are often listed in bullet point format in a table with two to three vertical columns and a total of nine to 12 total skills. Alternatively, you might create bullet points for a group of skills listed with commas. Certifications can also be listed as individual bullet points, typically after Education.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Overloading with information

One common pitfall is including too many topics in a single bullet point. Avoid overwhelming the reader by focusing on one overall point, supported with the most impactful details. Usually, an individual bullet point should not be longer than two or three lines. If more explanation is needed, consider creating a second bullet or using sub-bullets.

Being vague

Avoid writing bullet points that sound like the generic language of a job description. Your goal is to craft bullet points that can only appear on your resume. Using concrete examples and tangible results to showcase your skills and contributions will help your resume to stand out.


Repetitive language and generic phrases may bore your reader. By inserting descriptive action verbs and varying your bullet point structure, you will attract more interest. Specific industry terms should also be used — as long as your audience is familiar with them.

Crafting Impactful Bullet Points

Creating compelling bullet points requires a strategic approach. Incorporate industry keywords relevant to the job description, ensuring your resume passes through applicant tracking systems (ATS). Tailor your examples to align with the specific requirements of each position, showcasing how you are uniquely qualified.

Examples of Effective Bullet Points

Here are examples of well-crafted bullet points for various types of resumes:

  • Spearheaded a cross-functional team, resulting in a 20% increase in project efficiency
  • Negotiated and secured $500,000 in cost savings through strategic vendor partnerships
  • Performed data analysis using Python and SQL, improving data-driven decision-making processes
  • Led workshops to enhance team collaboration, resulting in a 15% improvement in project delivery timelines

Incorporating Bullet Points Into Different Resume Formats

Chronological resume

In the Work Experience section of a chronological resume, use bullet points to concisely outline your key achievements and responsibilities for each position. List your bullet points in order of overall impact or relevance of the accomplishment.

Functional resume

For a functional resume, skills and achievements precede chronological work history, so use bullet points to highlight your key qualifications. Organize them by skill categories while still focusing on outcomes to demonstrate your proficiency in each area.

Combination resume

A combination resume blends chronological and functional elements. In this format, use bullet points to showcase your work history and key skills for the target role. This lets you provide a comprehensive overview of your experience while emphasizing your strengths.

Additional Resources

To further enhance your resume-writing skills, explore these relevant resources:

For more resume formatting tips and insights on related topics, check out these resources:


Frequently Asked Questions About Resume Bullet Points

How specific should resume bullet points be?

Your bullet points should be specific about the results or impact of your work and your role in achieving the outcome.

Should resume bullets be full sentences?

Resume bullets should not be full sentences. Instead, they should be sentence fragments beginning with descriptive action verbs to set up your accomplishments and experience.

Do resume bullet points need periods?

Bullet points do not require periods at the end, as they are a matter of preference. The only rule is to be consistent in your resume formatting, with or without periods.

Andrew Stoner

Executive Resume Writer and Career Coach

Andrew Stoner is an executive career coach and resume writer with 17 years of experience as a hiring manager and operations leader at two Fortune 500 Financial Services companies, and as the career services director at two major university business schools.

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