Resume Helper: Don't Shoot Yourself in the Foot by Misusing Bullets

Bulleted lists are often used on resumes to highlight specific talking points and areas of achievement. But too frequently bullets are misused, and they end up diminishing the impact of the talking points rather than enhancing them. Here are a few common mistakes candidates make when using bullet points on their resume.

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Too many bullets

When job seekers create a list of more than five bullets in a row, nothing stands out and the text starts to look like one big paragraph. A better strategy is to create functional headings such as Business Development, Marketing, Financial Analysis, etc. This allows you to group your bullet points in sub-sections and quickly differentiate the types of value-add statements you are including in the resume.

Mixed-purpose bullets

Frequently job seekers mix information about job tasks with information regarding accomplishments. This waters down the value of the accomplishment statement and makes it harder to spot amongst a sea of task-oriented statements. A better strategy is to report job tasks in a brief paragraph format and identify accomplishments in a bulleted list to differentiate the two and make it easier for the reader to quickly spot the accomplishments.

Unique bullets

Sometimes candidates use unusual symbols for their bullets that may not look the same when they show up on the hiring authority's computer screen. It's better to stick with traditional circles and squares when creating bullet points. You want your resume to be memorable based on its accomplishments, rather than unusual formatting.

Bulleted lists are a great strategy for resumes and cover letters because they can clearly and succinctly communicate your unique message of value. Use them correctly, and they can help shoot you to the top of the hiring pile.

Next: Does This Resume Make Me Look Fat? >>

Filed under: Resume Tips, Resumes
Barbara Safani

Barbara Safani


Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, has over fifteen years of experience in career management, recruiting, executive coaching, and organizational development.

Barbara partners with both Fortune 100 companies and individuals to deliver targeted programs focusing on resume development, job search strategies, networking, interviewing, salary negotiation skills, and online identity management.

She is the author of Happy About My Resume: 50 Tips For Building a Better Document to Secure a Brighter Future and #JOBSEARCHtweet and her award-winning resumes are featured in dozens of career-related publications.

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