Tuesday’s Tip: Are Your Bullet Points Firing Blanks?

Posted by Kevin Crews - The Career Strategist on April 12, 2011 in Job Tip |
Regarding your resume, absolute worst way to write a bullet point is to copy and paste the job description from your current job. This guarantees that you will be put in the pile of all other rejected resumes; as a recruiter, I know that at least 50% of you do this!

You have to differentiate yourself from all of the other candidates that apply to the position. Do you remember Simon Cowell from American Idol? He always told the contestants to "make the song your own". Those who followed his advice seemed to get further in the competition than those who sang the same old song that we were already familiar with.

I want you to look at your bullet points and write them so that no one who has ever been - or will be - an accountant at that company can put the same bullet point on their resume. For example, the bullet points listed below start with the pathetic and advance to a very impressive sounding final point.

  • Did month-end closing procedures.

  • Responsible for month-end closing procedures for the Information Technology department.

  • Led a 6-person team who consistently met month-end closing deadlines by ensuring the right procedures were in place to act as a safety net if team was met with unexpected challenges.

  • Led a 6-person team who, by ensuring that the entire IT department was aware of, and committed to, the 18-step process demanded by our Service Level Agreements (SLA's), increased the meeting of month-end closing deadlines from 71% to 98%.

As you can see, anyone can have the first bullet point on their resume but it is nearly impossible that any of your competitors have the last bullet point on their resume. Demonstrating that you add value and that the company cannot live without you is your task for your resume and interview. If you fail on your resume, you might not ever get that interview (unless you know the magical secret of networking).

Here's what you do: pull out your resume, read each bullet point, and ask yourself, "so what?" If the item speaks about you being unique and adding value to the organization, then it passes the the test. If not, revise or, at the very least, move it to the middle of the bullet list (that's where the weakest, or least impressive ones should reside).

So load up your gun (resume) and start firing bullets that hit the bulls-eye (new job offer)!

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