What’s the most important part of your resume? You might think it’s the job titles you’ve held or whether you stayed for at least a year in a position. But the most important part of your resume is actually the bullet points explaining your responsibilities in each of your jobs. This is where you have the opportunity to be creative—and the chance to convince an employer you’re the best candidate for the job.
There are no particular rules for what to say, so long as you’re truthful. So take this opportunity to brag and make yourself sound as fancy and important as possible. This is key to standing out from the stack of resumes crowding an employer’s desk.
Use this simple formula to writing amazing bullet points that will make your resume shine.
Action Verb + Example = Result
Begin each bullet point with a strong verb showing the action you took. See the list of action verbs at the end of this post.
Use an example to illustrate your action. Be specific. Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible.
What was the outcome of your action? Explain how what you did contributed to the mission and operation of the organization.
How to Write Accomplishment Statements
1. Make a list of duties and tasks for each of your positions. Include anything that comes to your mind. Later, you can pare down to just those responsibilities that are relevant for your application.
2. Select an action verb for each item. Choose a strong word that highlights what you did. Think about how this task has prepared you for your next job. The word you choose should be tailored to the position you are now seeking. See the list below for suggested action verbs.
3. Add examples. Use specific details to demonstrate what you did. Quantify whenever possible. Again, keep in mind the position you are seeking now.
4. State results. Always include the outcomes of your action.
Okay, so that’s the format, but what does it look like in practice? Let’s walk through a few examples. Say you’re applying for a position that requires excellent organization, and you previously worked as an assistant in an office. How could we make that sound as professional and relevant as possible?
1. Job Duty: Answered phones.
2. Action Verb: Operated multi-line phone system.
3. Example: Operated multi-line phone system, transferring and prioritizing calls
4. Result: Operated multi-line phone system, transferring and prioritizing calls to ensure efficient operation of office.
Can you see how this sounds much more impressive than just “answered phones”? The funny thing is, this fancy-sounding statement is actually a more accurate account of what “answering phones” really means. You didn’t just pick up their phone and say hi, you managed a communications system that’s essential to the functioning of the office as a whole. And by stating it this way, it’s much easier for employers to see how this experience will translate over to a new job.
Let’s look at another example. Say you’re trying to get a job in early childhood education. You’ve never worked in a school or daycare facility before, but you do have several years of babysitting experience.
1. Job Duty: Babysat.
2. Action Verb: Provided childcare.
3. Example: Provided care for three children, ages 18 months to 9 years, including healthy meals and educational activities.
4. Result: Provided care for three children, ages 18 months to 9 years, including healthy meals and educational activities, resulting in a supportive and enriching after-school experience.
Here again, the accomplishment statement doesn’t just sound better—it’s also a more detailed and accurate explanation of your work. And you can see how writing it this way makes a connection between one job and the next.
Let’s look at one final example. Say you’re trying to get a position that requires excellent communication skills and the ability to think on your feet and work under pressure. You’ve never worked in this field, but you did work as a barista throughout college.
1. Job Duty: Worked as a barista.
2. Action Verb: Delivered excellent customer service.
3. Example: Delivered excellent customer service in a fast-paced café setting.
4. Result: Delivered excellent customer service in a fast-paced café setting, creating a welcoming environment for all customers.
Accomplishment statements set your resume apart and present the best possible side of your professional experience. Use this formula to write amazing bullet points.
Shalom Leo Bond
Career Development Facilitator
UNM Career Services
Achieved, Acted, Adapted, Adjusted, Administered, Advanced, Advised, Altered, Analyzed, Appraised, Arranged, Assembled, Assessed, Audited
Balanced, Budgeted, Built
Calculated, Calibrated, Categorized, Charted, Classified, Coached, Collected, Combined
Communicated, Compiled, Composed, Computed, Conducted, Configured, Consolidated, Constructed, Consulted, Contrasted, Controlled, Converted, Convinced, Coordinated, Counseled, Counted, Created, Cultivated
Decided, Decreased, Defined, Delivered, Demonstrated, Designed, Detected, Determined, Developed, Devised, Diagnosed, Differentiated, Distributed, Documented, Doubled, Drafted
Edited, Eliminated, Encouraged, Engineered, Enhanced, Ensured, Established, Estimated, Evaluated, Examined, Executed, Expanded, Expedited
Facilitated, Filed, Filled, Forecasted, Formulated, Fostered, Fulfilled
Gained, Gathered, Generated, Grew, Guided
Handled, Headed, Hired
Identified, Illustrated, Implemented, Improved, Increased, Influenced, Informed, Initiated, Inspected, Installed, Instituted, Instructed, Integrated, Intended, Interviewed, Invented, Investigated
Launched, Lectured, Led, Liaised, Logged
Maintained, Managed, Manufactured, Marketed, Measured, Mediated, Mentored, Migrated, Minimized, Monitored, Motivated
Obtained, Operated, Orchestrated, Ordered, Organized, Originated, Oversaw
Performed, Persuaded, Planned, Posted, Prepared, Prescribed, Presented, Priced, Processed, Produced, Promoted, Proposed, Protected, Provided, Purchased
Realized, Received, Recommended, Reconciled, Recorded, Recruited, Redesigned, Reduced, Referred, Removed, Reorganized, Repaired, Reported, Represented, Researched, Resolved, Restructured, Revamped, Reviewed, Revised, Revitalized, Routed
Scheduled, Selected, Separated, Served, Serviced, Set up, Simplified, Sold, Solved, Specified, Started, Strategized, Streamlined, Strengthened, Studied, Summarized, Supervised, Supplied, Supported
Tested, Tracked, Trained, Transformed, Translated, Troubleshot
Weighed, Wired, Won