all bullet resume

Posted: July 23, 2014
By: Clay Cerny

 

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.

Posted: January 30, 2014
By: Clay Cerny

It’s true that employers read resumes quickly.  However, you still need to give them something to read.  A client recently showed me a resume that looked good, but said nothing.  It gave no reason to hire her beyond broad generalizations.

A good resume has content that is relevant to employers.  It is not wordy because it shows why a candidate is qualified for a position.  A resume becomes wordy when it includes elements that are not relevant to the employer.  Over 10 years, I’ve found that employers will read two page resumes formatted in a paragraph style.  They will do that if they can quickly see that the applicant might be a good employee.

Don’t hide your skills.  Sell them is a good resume that is rich in content and relevant to the employer’s needs.