Writing the bullet point

It’s not what you write, it’s the way that you write it.

When writing the bullet point, we are trying to produce a short, snappy statement which will attract the reader’s eye in the first scan through the CV and provide sufficient information to prove it a worth while read in the subsequent detailed examination.

  • We’re aiming at producing a bullet point of between a line and a half and two lines of text in normal sized font.
  • If we make the bullet point run for more than two lines the reader will possibly miss the whole thing on the first scan, thinking it is much too hard a read and, on the detailed examination, miss out the third and subsequent lines because they run out of breath half way through the statement.
  • People do tend to read, from paper, out loud, in their own minds.
  • Short sentences cause them to breath too quickly.
  • They’ll miss these out because they think they can’t be important. 
  • Long, boring sentences, full of multisyllable words, inconsistent phrasing, bewildering choice of expressions, complicated and muddled thinking, leading to a perplexing and puzzling ending are just downright confusing.
  • See what I mean?

So what information do we need to get over to the reader in the bullet point?

Your skill, how you use it, how important it is, the volume of work you handle and the benefit to the company. Here’s an example:-

[Skill]  [How you use it]  [Volume of work]  [Benefit to the company]

  • [Operated]  [a computer controlled system in a chemical polymer production plant]  [producing over eight hundred tonnes per shift]   [with minimum waste.]

As you break up the statement this way, look at each section and think how complex the job was and how you could show this in the bullet point. It might mean that the sentence extends beyond two lines, look to see how it might be split to give a further bullet point.

  • [Operated]  [ a DCS computer controlled system producing a range of high quality chemical polymers in a large production plant] [producing a range of high quality products to match customer needs against output targets of over eight hundred tonnes per shift]  [minimising waste by arranging longest possible runs before changing materials.]

This could become:-

  • Operated a computer controlled chemical polymer production sytem to produce over eight hundred tonnes per shift of high quality product to customer needs.
  • Minimised waste by planning longest possible runs in specific product manufacture by aggregating matching customer requirements.

If it is possible to quantify or measure improvements or savings, then the bullet point could be rewritten as an achievement.

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