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Monday, March 27, 2006
Duck and Cover - The Bullets Are Flying
Today, I saw a “first” in my twelve-plus years of resume writing – a resume that had numbered bullets. The summary section had eight bulleted items in two columns, and each bullet had its own number. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more bullet-riddled resume, either. The job seeker had quite gotten carried away with the bullet feature and “shot” his resume to death.

Bullets are great little design elements that allow certain bits of information to be separated from the rest of the document. The purpose of bullets is to draw attention to the information next to which they are positioned. Too many bullets, though, and you lose the effect that bullets were meant to achieve. Often, I will see all the information in a resume bulleted out resulting in long lists of sentences. In those situations, the bullets are useless for drawing attention and simply mark the beginning of the next sentence.

There are some rules for using bullets that job seekers need to attend to when working with the content of their resumes.

Select the information that is to be bulleted. Never bullet job description because description is better read in text form (like a paragraph). Instead, use bullets to draw attention to the important information like achievements and results-statements.

No more than five-in-a-row. If you have more information than five bullets will cover, reconsider either the information or the need for bullets. Long lists of bulleted items are not effective in grabbing the reader’s attention.

Don’t mix your bullets. Be consistent in the type of bullet you use all the way through the document. Don’t mix round dots with squares, or checkmarks with diamonds. Keep them all the same.

Don’t bullet your bullets (or number them either, for that matter). A resume is not an outline so you won’t have big bullets with sub-bullets and sub-sub-bullets. Use one set of bullets. If you feel like you have more information that needs to be sub-bulleted, reconsider your information; you are probably getting too wordy.

Keep bullet statements short. Don’t bullet a sentence that is more than two lines long. That’s not a bullet item. Shorten it to the main idea and save the description for the interview. Paragraphs should never be bulleted and neither should job titles. Lists such as technical skills or classes may be bulleted but keep the list short.

Don’t get goofy with your bullets. Keep the animated finger that points to the information out of the resume. You can stick with the standard bullets or you can create your own using the Insert Symbol tool. There are some neat little symbols that can be used very nicely for bullets and make your resume different.

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 /


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