A common question job seekers have is whether to use bullets points or paragraphs on a resume. The answer is that a resume should always be written in bullet points and not paragraphs.
A hiring manager only spends a few so you want to ensure it's easy to read and digest.
A resume in paragraph form makes it too text heavy. It could be difficult to capture the attention of a hiring manager this way. Many hiring managers are also quick to dismiss a resume that’s difficult to read.
Keep your resume format in short and concise bullet points and use quantifiable accomplishments (numbers) wherever possible.
Here is an example of a paragraph on a resume:
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.
Now let's put this into bullet points which convey the same information more concisely:
Increased sales by 9% without increasing the marketing budget through paid advertisements and conversion optimization.
Optimized paid advertisements and A/B tested landing pages which resulted in a 13% increase in the overall conversion rate.
Secured press in high quality publications which resulted in 300,000 website visitors within 3 months.
Collaborated with different departments to improve the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns.
Which one was easier to read?
Obviously, the bullet points are more reader friendly. Always write resume bullet points instead of paragraphs.
Can I combine both bullet points and paragraphs?
You can, but only where you have a lot of relevant and useful information. In this case, it’s better to do a small paragraph of 3 -4 sentences and then bullet points. You don’t want to go over 6 bullet points for a specific position, so including a short paragraph will help you trim it down.
This leads us to some tips to keep in mind with your resume bullet points.
3 Tips for Your Resume Bullet Points
Use 4-6 Bullet Points
How many bullet points should you use? Each position should have 4-6 bullet points listed. If you have a lot of information, then you could use a couple of sentences to open it up and then list bullet points underneath.
The positions that are old or irrelevant and towards the end of your resume can be cut down to 2-3 bullet points. Always make an effort to word your old work history and experience in a way that shows relevancy to the position you're targeting.
Start with a Strong Power Verb
Although not always possible, you should try to start each bullet point off with an attention-grabbing action verb to help highlight key accomplishments and relevant skills.
For example; Managed, Trained, Executed, Reduced, Improved.
You can check out our post on some 101 awesome power verbs to use on a resume.
Make the First Bullet the Best
The first bullet point of each position should be the best. You want to capture the attention of the hiring manager with a strong start.
Use numbers and power verbs wherever possible, especially for the first bullet point.
Just to recap, use bullet points instead of paragraphs on your professionally written resume as it's more visually appealing, reader friendly and easy for a hiring manager to skim through. If you have a lot of relevant information, you could include a couple of sentences as an intro so you don't go over 6 bullet points.
Remember to keep your bullet points relevant and use numbers wherever possible which really captures the attention of a hiring manager.
Good luck with your job search!
The ZipJob team is made up of professional writers located across the USA and Canada with backgrounds in HR, recruiting, career coaching, job placement, and professional writing.