I got an interesting feedback from a colleague the other day about how the CV rewrite I did for her helped with many interview invitations, and eventually, her current job (Click to view). Nothing delights me more than the thought of having added value or contributed positively to someone’s career.
For those looking to hack the CV writing secret, you must know that the most important part of your CV is the content, not ‘the template’. You could have the best looking resume in the world, but without effective content and bullet points, your resume won’t make it past a hiring manager.
So what makes an effective bullet point? Here’s a specific framework and checklist:
- Start your bullet point with a strong Action Verb (e.g. Created, Managed, Spearheaded, etc.). Achievers use better action verbs like improved (from A to B), increased (from X% to Y%)
- Don’t use fillers (e.g. ‘various’, ‘multiple’). Instead, be specific by using numbers (e.g. Don’t say you ‘implemented various features’. Instead, say you ‘implemented 10+ features’).
- Quantify your impact using numbers and metrics. Did your achievement save time for your company? Increase revenue? While you might not be able to do this for every bullet point, do it where you can.
- Accomplishments, not responsibilities. Remember, your bullet points should always tell the recruiter or hiring manager what you accomplished, and not what you do on a day to day basis. If you find yourself starting your bullet point with ‘Responsible for’ or a weak verb like ‘Assisted’, you’re likely writing about your responsibilities and not your accomplishments. Similarly, if you use the present tense, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve just listed a responsibility – it’s hard for something you have accomplished to be written in the present tense (e.g. use ‘Managed’, not ‘Managing’).
- Remove personal pronouns (e.g. I, my, their). It is understood that your resume is written about you and your experiences, and personal pronouns just take up space and increase wordiness.
- 1-2 lines long. Short, succinct bullet points are key to your resume’s readability. Blobs of texts; that is, bullets or paragraphs that are three lines or longer, are likely to not be read.
If you can constructively use the points listed above, I can guarantee that your CV would have a better-than-average rating when assessed using any AI or ATS. That said, requisite skills and qualifications, keyword optimization, structure, and grammar are other important requirements to get your CV close to the very top.
Great CVs still work. Recruiters like to be impressed, and your CV provides the first opportunity to do that.