Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Nailing the Bullet: Resume Tips in a Jiffy

This post was written by Nicole Cartier ’14, CCD Peer Career Ambassador

Employers spend less than ten seconds looking at your resume . . . yes, I will say that again; less than ten seconds are spent reviewing your resume. So, how do you make your resume stand out? How do you make your past experiences look their best on paper? The answer: work, rework, and keep reworking your bullet points until they are the strongest they can be and stronger.

Here are three tips to get you started:

1. What is your value add? You probably hear this over and over again, but let that tell you something. Your value add is what you contributed to the organization through the task that you are highlighting in each bullet point. If the task was team-oriented, what did you have to offer to further the team’s development and accomplishments? Rephrased . . .

  • So what? What difference did you make through your work? In the recruiter’s eyes: what can you do for their company? Past experience is the best indicator of future performanceàtrue for behavioral interviewing and applicable here, too.

2. Make every action verb count. After a visit with a CCD advisor or PCA, you should know that every bullet point needs to start with an action verb. Chances are these are the words recruiters are taking note of as they scan your resume. My advice with these verbs is to—as much as possible—mirror the language of the industry you are trying to engage with.

  • For example: Interested in accounting? Try using ‘audited’ instead of ‘reviewed,’ if it fits. Making simple work actually sound good is okay.

3. Get to the point. Explain what you did, but excessive elaboration of a task is not necessary. If employers want to know more, they’ll ask. What you did should be clear and in “plain English,” but a few words will suffice.

When you think you’ve got these down, bring your resume into the CCD (Hollister 106), and somebody awesome will be happy to take a look and offer even more advice. See you soon?