Andrea Gerson | The Muse | Updated 6/19/202o
Not to be a downer, but most job postings receive an average of 250 applications per role. This might seem like a depressing number, but it’s important to keep the competition in mind.
Why? Because it reminds you that it is worth putting that extra time into your application (even if you’d rather be doing something else).
As a professional resume writer, there is one change I’m always recommending to my clients: perfecting their bullet points.
Strong bullets will spice up your resume and help ensure that your content actually showcases your strengths, not just the boring tasks that you were assigned. And that’s what’ll help you stand out to hiring managers.
Here’s how to do it:
Do Lead With What’s Most Important
Hiring managers skim your resume bullets, so you want to have the most important information first. Since we know that the eye scans downward, following this rule will increase your odds that these crucial details will be seen. For example:
- Oversaw commercial operations for global travel agency serving nearly 15,000 customers each year, including corporate accounts and celebrity clientele.
- Spearheaded initiative to introduce new destinations, developing partnerships with international tour operators located throughout Asia and Europe to expand revenue channels.
While both of these bullets are impressive, the first bullet provides a broader description of the individual’s responsibilities and role within the organization, so it makes sense that it’s placed above one that’s narrower in scope.
To decide how to order your bullets, ask yourself: If the hiring manager could only read two on your list, which two would you want him or her to read?
But, Don’t Forget to Add Background
While you do want start off with a bang—you don’t want to do so at the expense of context that help the hiring manager understand why what you did was so impressive.
It’s much more effective if the first bullet also provides an overview, be it on the type of company you worked for, the scope of operations, the yearly revenue, or the number of clients served.
Here’s an example of a resume bullet dives right into the responsibilities without first providing context:
- Helped with creating, definining, and executing digital marketing initiatives and SEO/SEM goals, transforming and enhancing brand awareness and search engine results, and increasing overall traffic and conversion rates.
That sounds pretty good—but it’s even stronger with additional context:
- Spearheaded development and execution of digital marketing initiatives on behalf of leading agency generating more than $10.5 million in yearly revenue, serving hundreds of enterprise clients nationwide.
This makes your impact that much clearer, which is especially important if the companies that you worked for are not super well-known. So, don’t skip over the big picture. Lead with it, and then delve into the nitty gritty.