Career Calling

July 23, 2014

Using Bullets on Resumes

 

I was discussing revisions with a client, and he said, “Clay, I want to add some bullets.”  I asked why and he didn’t have a good reason.  Many resumes are nothing more than point after point, bullet after bullet.

When I write a resume, I use a paragraph to describe job duties and bullets to call out achievements.  I’ll also use bullets at the top of a resume to call out key words/skills.  My problem with the all-bullet resume is that it gives an illusion of order when the opposite is often true.  Some people have told me, “bullets are easier to read.”  That’s not true.  When we read a paragraph, we know how to move from sentence to sentence quickly, skimming a document.   We’ve been reading that way since the second grade.  Bullets meant to make us stop.  A resume that has too many bullets is actually harder to read because it is constantly telling the reader to stop, stop, and stop.  If all bullet documents were easier to read, why are books, newspapers, magazines, and letters still written in a paragraph style?

Well used, bullets are a good tool for formatting any document.  They should be used to call out as items of equal or similar performance and used to make it easier to read a document.  If you’re using a bullet to format a document, know how and why you are using it.  Have a reason.  “I read it on the Internet” is not a good reason.

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