How to Write Resume Bullet Points That Get Interviews

You are already spending hours each week finding, applying, and waiting to hear back from employers. This guide will make sure that your resume bullet points are not what is holding you back from your dream job. We will break down step-by-step how to write effective resume bullet points that get interviews.

Our team has done deep research, applying to over 29,000 applications and incorporating insights from surveys with over 100+ hiring managers and recruiters. This has allowed us to learn what gets noticed when they review resumes. We have also significantly reverse engineered Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to identify how to write effective resume bullet points.

Writing effective resume bullet points will allow you to:

  1. Make sure your resume gets through the ATS.
  2. Allow the recruiter to quickly see your accomplishments and understand if you have worked in a relevant enough context.
  3. Help the hiring manager to quickly pick 2-3 experiences that they want to dig into during the interview.

What our research has shown is that resume bullet points that get interviews do the following:

  • Summarize your accomplishments and impact in a concise and quantifiable manner.
  • Incorporate keywords that are both from the job description and fit the type of role you are applying for.
  • Follow one of three main resume bullet point frameworks.
  • Are optimized to not be auto-rejected by ATS.

At the end of this article, we will even share our Mad Libs for effective resume bullet points. Our Mad Libs give you an outline that you can easily plug in details specific to your previous projects and work experience.

How to share your accomplishments in your Resume Bullet Points

A common issue that we see on resumes is that they are too “job-description-y”. These resumes sound like a job description and miss out on your skills and personality traits used to accomplish your work. 

  • We believe that you have accomplished more than what you may think. 
  • Reflect back on different projects you led and ask yourself: What was the goal of the project and how did you complete it? 
  • Reflect back on problems and challenges you faced and ask: How did you navigate them to find a solution? 
  • Think bigger: What project had the biggest impact on the company you worked for?

Effective resume bullet points are focused on accomplishments and impact. Your first resume bullet point should be sharing your most exciting achievement at that company you worked for. Be sure to quantify that impact with numbers. If you are having trouble quantifying, think about what the situation looked like before and after. Did you reduce a bloated 10-step process down to 5 steps? Did you automate a process to save 5 hours a week on manual work? Did you save a large client who is valued at $10,000/month?

If you are using job-specific tools, be sure to include them in your bullet point. Do you have familiarity with or certifications in industry-specific or role-specific tools and software? Take a look at the job description. Did you use any of the tools or software listed in the job description? If so, add it to your resume in a bullet point or your skills section.

If you are having trouble identifying and positioning your accomplishments, our team of Career Success Coaches at JobStep are here to help!

How to use Keywords in your Resume Bullet Points

Read through the job description and pay close attention to what words the employer is using. Be sure to incorporate job-specific and skill-specific words into your resume. To help get you started, here are keywords by career focus that we have identified through our research:

Customer Success Empathy, Communication, Active Listening, Cross-selling, Customer Retention, Team Player, Relationship Management, Account Management, Relationship Building, Problem Solving, Project Management, Analytical Skills, Customer Relationship Management, Customer Acquisition, Salesforce, Customer Journey, Point of Contact, Book of Business
Customer Support Empathy, Communication, Active Listening, Customer Retention, Team Player, Relationship Building, Problem Solving, Customer Relationship Management, Customer Acquisition, Salesforce, Zendesk, Jira, Troubleshoot, JavaScript, Escalate, Resolve
Data Analyst SQL, Tableau, Excel, Python, Data Analytics, Data Visualization, Database, Business Intelligence, Statistics, Data Modeling, Data Management, Data Cleaning, Computer Science, Google Sheets, Lookr, ggplot2, R, Java
Recruiter Applicant Tracking System, Relationship Management, High Volume, Talent Acquisition, Human Resources, Compliance, Recruiting, Interviewing, Sourcing, Talent Management, Screening, Technical Recruiting, Organizational Development, Employer Branding
Tech Sales Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Technical Sales, Cross-Selling, Customer Retention, Negotiation, Account Management, Relationship Management, Relationship Building, Software as a Service (SaaS), Customer Acquisition, Book of Business, Business Development, Lead Generation, Sales prospecting, Inside Sales, Upselling

 

3 Resume Bullet Point Frameworks that get Interviews

So now you have your accomplishments and keywords. How are you supposed to structure and format your resume bullet points?

We have crafted three specific frameworks that you can use to write resume bullet points that get interviews.

Framework 1: Share your accomplishment story

Simplify your accomplishment story and structure it as:

  • [Action Verb] [Obstacle] by [Action] to [Result] 

Or more simply:

  • [1st Verb] [Result] by [Action] 

Here are a few examples of what this looks like in practice:

  • Increased website visits by 34% by crafting a new process for SEO keyword research and overall website quality assurance and optimization.
  • Doubled annual sales from $6M to $15M (150% increase) by recruiting 25-40 brand ambassadors to lead community events and drive repeatable sales.
  • Grew net profits by 5% and 10% in Year 1 & Year 2 by coordinating 5 analysts to provide data insights to 7 business clients.

Framework 2: Add metrics to responsibilities with a strong solution-oriented action verb. 

You probably can recall what your day-to-day looked like at previous companies you worked at. Use that as a starting point to dig deeper and show what quantifiable impact your actions had using this structure: 

  • [Action Verb] [Number] [Responsibility] per [Time Period]

Here are a few examples of what this looks like in practice:

  • Reduced waste by 5% by implementing workflow systems that increased production resulting in cost savings of $25,000/year.
  • Led customer success team to handle 100+ inbound calls daily and follow up with 30-50 customers to answer questions within 24 hours via email on a daily basis.
  • Managed a team of 6 analysts who maintain Knowledge Bases (KBs) for 12+ government clients on a daily basis. 

Framework 3: Showcase your impact towards a business metric

This is where you tie the actions that you took to a direct business metric following this structure:

  • [Verb] [Business metric] by X% via ___.
  • [Verb] [Business metric] from X to Y by ___.

Here are a few examples of what this looks like in practice:

  • Fully eliminated weekly missed chat messages (from 3-4/week to 0/week) by creating a set schedule among a team of 7 to clearly define who is covering chat. 
  • Reduced article turnaround time by 20% (from 5 weeks to 3-4 weeks) by standardizing a process through Trello to reduce back and forth.
  • Reduced raw material cost by ~10% by sourcing 3 new vendors with more competitive pricing.

How to beat an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Applicant Tracking System (ATS) filters cannot analyze fancy fonts, colors, charts, shapes, and designs. Only use the pretty version of your resume for networking, but never for online applications. 

Wondering how to beat ATS filters? Check out our webinar on reverse engineering ATS filters here.

Mad Libs for Resume Bullet Points that get Interviews

Your ability to land a career should be determined by your skills, not your ability to write an optimized resume. With that, we would like to share what we call Mad Libs for Resume Bullets. You can start with the below bullet points and plug in details specific to your previous projects and experience.

  • Solved [type of problem], driving [company impact]
  • Lead a team of [number of people] employees to drive [company impact].
  • Drove X% increase in revenue by designing [Action].
  • Drove X% increase in productivity by [Action].
  • Retained high-value customer (valued at [$XX,XXX]) by [Action].
  • Optimized process to save [number of steps] resulting in a reduction of [number of manual hours] spent [daily/weekly/monthly].
  • Prototyped [approach] model/tool using [technology] in order to [company or project goal]. Achieved [metric] performance.
  • Forecasted [metric] for [team/clients].
  • Created a dashboard to track KPIs and led department to process orders by X%.

Effective Resume Bullet Points That Get Interviews FAQ

How long should my resume bullet points be?

Try your best to limit a large portion of resume bullets to 1 line. Too many multi-line resume bullets makes it hard for the recruiter and hiring manager to skim. 

How should I order my bullet points?

Always start with your most impactful and relevant bullet point first.

Why is incorporating business metrics important?

Employers are looking for job seekers who can use their own judgment to prioritize tasks. Employers use job seekers’ awareness of business metrics as a proxy for their ability to prioritize and use good judgment. 

What is a SOAR Story?

SOAR stands for: Situation, Obstacle, Action, Results. This is a framework that is helpful for not only answering behavioral interview questions, but also for crafting resume bullet points that get interviews. 

  • The situation provides just enough context for the hiring manager to understand the location, time, and role the job seeker was in. 
  • The obstacle is the 1-2 sentence story of the core problem the job seeker is trying to resolve. The best stories tie the problem to a business metric. 
  • The actions are the 3-5 effective bullet points that show how the job seeker approached, tackled, and resolved the problem. 
  • The result answers the “So What?” of the story and ideally ties the impact back to the business results. Ideally, the result contains a metric or the creation/launch/establishment of some initiative/process/product. Tying the result to a business result or the creation of some initiative helps the employer assess how quickly a job seeker will get onboarded, the kind of impact they’ll have, and assess how independently this person can make judgment calls. 

Should I stylize my resume to stand out?

Applicant Tracking System (ATS) filters cannot analyze fancy fonts, colors, charts, shapes, and designs. Only use the pretty version of your resume for networking, but never for online applications.