Resume Bullet Points or Paragraphs?

Ronda Suder, Resume Writer

8 min read

Green geometrical pattern

A common question job seekers have is whether to use resume bullet points or paragraphs on their resume. The short answer is that a resume should always be written in bullet points and not paragraphs.

Why are resume bullet points better than paragraphs?

A hiring manager only spends a few seconds looking at your resume, so you want to ensure it's easy to read and digest. The easier you can make the hiring manager’s job, the more likely they are to look favorably on your application!

A resume in paragraph form makes it too text-heavy. It’s not easy to scan through a paragraph and pick out key information. Bullet points, on the other hand, tend to be snappier and easier to read at a glance. 

In addition, bullet points force you to write more thoughtfully and concisely, preventing your resume from becoming bogged down in purposeless and irrelevant detail. When a reader is only spending a few seconds looking at your resume, it pays to lose the fluff and focus only on what’s important. 

For these reasons, bullet points are considered the best way to write your resume. 

Resume bullet points versus resume paragraphs

Let’s take a look at this advice in action. Here’s an example of a resume paragraph: 

I was instrumental in the growth of XYZ, where I applied my vast marketing knowledge to grow sales and improve usability. I improved overall sales by 9% without increasing the marketing budget. I did this through A/B testing different landing pages and optimizing our paid advertisements. Changes in the landing pages were also instrumental to the increase in the overall conversion rate by 13%. I was also successful in securing press in high-quality publications, which saw an additional 300,000 website visitors.

Here’s an example of the same text, formatted as resume bullet points:

  • Increased sales by 9% through paid advertisements and conversion optimization without increasing the marketing budget

  • Optimized paid advertisements and A/B-tested landing pages, which resulted in a 13% increase in overall conversion rate

  • Secured press in high-quality publications, which resulted in 300,000 additional website visitors within 3 months

  • Collaborated with different departments to improve the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns

Which one was easier to read and digest?

Obviously, the bullet points are more reader-friendly. Always use resume bullet points instead of paragraphs.

Can I combine both bullet points and paragraphs?

You can combine bullets and paragraphs, but only where you have a lot of relevant and useful information. In this case, it’s better to write a short paragraph of two to three sentences summarizing the duties and scope of your role, followed by bullet points that showcase your accomplishments. Keep both sections short and punchy - around four to six bullet points is a reasonable guideline. 

Here’s an example of how you could combine resume bullet points and paragraphs:

Supervised a team of 12 staff and managed a fleet of 8 vans. Controlled an annual budget of $150,000. Led by example to deliver customer service excellence and promoted team cohesion. 

Key achievements

  • Won a $500,000 new contract by launching a new self-service concept that also reduced overhead costs by $5,000 per month

  • Negotiated with suppliers to reduce costs by $1 per item, resulting in a multi-million-dollar annual saving 

  • Achieved 99% in an internal compliance audit, a significant increase from the previous review

  • Consistently exceeded challenging KPIs, including surpassing sales targets by 70% in Q1 of 2023

Are there exceptions to the rule?

While we advocate using resume bullet points for the Career Summary part of your resume, one section where paragraphs are normal and expected is the Professional Profile (also called the Summary). Here, your elevator pitch, showing you as a perfect match for the role, can be presented as a three to four-sentence paragraph. It’s still important to keep this section succinct and punchy, but it’s considered a resume writing best practice to present it as a short paragraph. Here’s an example of a Professional Profile written in paragraph form: 

An approachable Technical Specialist with an honors degree in Cyber Security and extensive technical knowledge. Quickly identifies IT problems and understands requirements to develop effective solutions in line with industry standards. Skilled at reducing costs and increasing efficiency through automation, adapting easily to changing market demands

How to write resume bullet points for your work experience section

Use four to six bullet points

How many bullet points should you have on a resume? We advise around four to six per role. If you have a lot of information, create a master resume with all the bullets you can think of, then tailor the resume to individual jobs by deleting any that aren’t relevant to each specific application.

Start with a strong power verb

Although not always possible, you should try to start each bullet point with an attention-grabbing action verb to help highlight key accomplishments and relevant skills. 

For example:

  • Managed

  • Trained

  • Executed

  • Reduced

  • Improved

  • Delivered

For more verbs to start bullet points for resumes, check out our post on some 101 awesome power verbs

Make sure the first bullet hits the hardest

The first bullet point of each position should be your main accomplishment. You want to capture the attention of the hiring manager with a strong start and make them think, “Wow!”

Include numbers

Use numbers to quantify your success and make your claims more credible. If you can add relevant dollar amounts or percentages, for example, to each bullet point, they will have a greater impact. Consider: 

  • Increased sales of cookies and cakes


  • Increased cookie sales by 20% and cake sales by 15%, contributing to an overall improvement of $50,000 in annual revenue

In the second version, there’s no doubt about the impact you had on the company. In the first version, your contribution isn’t clear. Maybe you only sold one extra cookie and two extra cakes! 

Use the right tense

Use present tense for the bullet points representing your current job. Use past tense for bullet points for past jobs you’ve held. In other words, for a current job, one would write:

  • Manage a team of 15 sales professionals 

Compared to the following for a job held in the past:

  • Managed a team of 15 sales professionals

Don’t use periods

Do you put periods after bullet points on resumes? In standard English, bullet points are usually written without a period at the end. The only exception to this rule is if the bullet consists of more than one sentence - and you wouldn’t write long bullets like that on a resume, would you? Remember, a resume needs to be concise - that means you won’t need periods at the end of your bullets.

Incorporate keywords

Include keywords within your work experience resume bullet points to help grab the attention of the hiring team. Keywords also help you get past an employer’s applicant tracking system, or ATS, by improving its relevance. Refer to the job description to help you identify which keywords - required skills, knowledge, and experience - to include. 

Tailor the bullets to the role

It’s important to make sure that the bullets on your resume are relevant to the role you’re applying for. That way, the reader can immediately see how you’d fit into their business and drive it forward. Let’s look at some examples of how bullet points can be tailored to specific roles:

Bartender resume bullet points

  • Launched a new cocktail night, increasing footfall by 30% on what was previously the quietest night of the week 

  • Created a warm, welcoming environment by encouraging the team to interact with new customers and provide attentive service 

Customer service resume bullet points

  • Increased customer satisfaction by 20%, as measured by surveys, by resolving their inquiries at first contact

  • Implemented customer service training across the team and provided upskilling opportunities to improve standards

Cashier resume bullet points

  • Processed transactions quickly and efficiently, enabling a greater throughput of customers per hour

  • Built long-term relationships with regular clients in order to retain their business

Project management resume bullet points

  • Delivered a new system implementation 2 weeks ahead of schedule through meticulous planning and cross-functional collaboration 

  • Project managed an office move to a new site, which was completed within a strict $10,000 budget with zero downtime

Retail resume bullet points

  • Reduced excess stock holding by 40% by promoting slow-selling items and maintaining an accurate overview of inventory

  • Delivered a $25,000 reduction in staffing costs by rostering fewer staff in quiet periods

Sales resume bullet points

  • Secured a $300,000 contract with a key client by building robust relationships with C-level decision-makers

  • Proactively upsold accessories to enable the team to achieve challenging weekly and annual targets 

Server resume bullet points

  • Encouraged repeat business by providing fast, personal service, even at peak times 

  • Increased revenue by 15% by promoting dishes with high margins and upselling drinks

HR Generalist resume bullet points

  • Spearheaded new employee service award program, improving employee satisfaction ratings by 10%

  • Led project to implement new company-wide human resource information system (HRIS) for 2000 employees across 5 states

Now that you know how to present bullet points on your resume, you’re well-equipped to create your own knock-out job search documents!

How to write resume bullet points for other sections of your resume

The work experience section of your resume isn't the only area where you'll use resume bullet points. Most sections you choose to include in your resume outside of your resume summary and education section should use bullet points.

Core competencies resume bullet points

It's good practice to include a list of core competencies beneath your resume summary. Each competency you include should begin with a bullet point. To save space, it's ok to list several competencies in a single row, separated by bullet points or dashes. 

If you include any type of skills section on your resume, similar to the core competencies list, begin each skill with a bullet point, and list only one skill for each bullet. For example:

Technical Skills

  • Microsoft Office

  • Software Development

  • JAVA

  • WordPress

  • Website Development

Volunteer experience resume bullet points

Sometimes, including volunteer experience on your resume can help it stand out. It’s also a good way to incorporate experience you might otherwise be lacking in your professional work history based on the job description. If you include volunteer experience on your resume, it's common to write the section similarly to the work experience section. As such, you'll use bullet points to highlight the achievements and experience of each volunteer experience.

Here’s an example:

Volunteer Experience

Community Outreach Effort, Hope Relief Services, EveryTown, YourState, December 2020 to Present – Event Organizer

  • Recruited 50 community outreach personnel to support 6 annual community outreach events, including a food drive, spring gala, clothing drive, silent auction, fall festival, and holiday adopt-a-family toy drive

  • Spearheaded and co-launched marketing efforts for all events

  • Generated a 23% increase in donation growth between March 2020 and March 2022

If you participated in several volunteer efforts for different organizations, you might choose to list your volunteer experience in a single list as follows:

Volunteer Experience

  • Supported carpool efforts to transport underserved youth to and from local community center every other weekend

  • Spearheaded efforts to raise $10,000 for winter coat drive for homeless teens in Little Town, MA

  • Collaborated with team of coworkers to help build 2 homes for local families in need through Habitat for Humanity 

Resume bullet points for projects, hobbies, and interests 

For other sections of your resume that you might include, like Projects and Hobbies & Interests, use your own judgment as to whether you need to provide more detail, like in the Volunteer Experience examples above, or if one to two words is sufficient, like in the Skills section example above. 

Projects, for example, might need a bit more detail to explain the project, whereas a bullet point with one hobby or interest listed would be best for a Hobbies & Interests section. 

In a nutshell: Use resume bullet points! 

Should you use bullet points in your resume? YES! Just to recap, use bullet points instead of paragraphs on your resume whenever possible, as it's more visually appealing, more reader-friendly, and easier for a hiring manager to skim through. 

If you’re not sure whether your resume is presented in the best possible way to show off your skills and experience to a hiring manager, why not submit it for a free resume review? Our experts will tell you exactly what’s working and what’s not so that you can present the best resume possible!

Good luck with your job search!

Recommended reading:

Written by

Ronda Suder, Professional Writer

With a drive to foster safety and expand possibilities through writing, performing, and working with others, Ronda brings 25 years of combined experience in HR, recruiting, career advice, communications, mental and behavioral health, and storytelling to her work. She’s a certified career coach and holds a Master’s in Human Resources, a Master’s in Film and Media Production, and a Master’s in Counseling and Development. As a writer, she’s covered topics ranging from finance and rock mining to leadership and internet technology, with a passion for career advice and mental-health-related topics. When she’s not at her computer, Ronda enjoys connecting with others, personal growth and development, spending time with her beloved pooch, and entertainment through movies, television, acting, and other artistic endeavors. You can connect with Ronda on LinkedIn and through her website.

Person working on laptop outside. ZipJob Branded.

Our resume services get results.

We’ve helped change over 30,000 careers.