Why bullet points matter in career documentation

On average, you have 6 seconds to convince a recruiter that your application is worth pursuing. It’s therefore essential to immediately and effectively ‘sell’ your career offerings in your resume and other career documentation (including your cover letter and LinkedIn profile). If we also factor in the Jobvite 2017 Recruiting Funnel Benchmark Report’s finding that only 1 in 6 job candidates make it through to the interview stage, it’s even more apparent why digestible, engaging content matters.

“Great resume, no brand? Welcome to position #347 of the stack of five hundred equally great resumes.” (Michael Ellsberg, US Author, Blogger & Public Speaker)

In the context of clear and meaningful branding across your career documentation, it’s also important to consider the format and presentation. That is, how are you going to ensure that your resume, cover letter, etc. are user-friendly (as well as ATS and keyword optimised), particularly from the ‘scan reader’ perspective? The inclusion of bullet point lists is a sure-fire way to encapsulate your career offerings in a legible and appealing manner. They will help to capture and maintain the reader’s attention, including recruiters that are swamped with an abundance of applications.

Emphasis & navigation

When used appropriately, bullet point lists in your resume and other career documentation can effectively highlight your most relevant career strengths, achievements and experiences. They will denote the significance of your more specific, job-attuned professional capabilities. They will also help guide the recruiter and others to the key areas within your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile – those career elements that you’re particularly wanting to showcase and promote.

Proficient absorption

In the context of the speedy online reader, as well as the recruiter reviewing a multitude of resumes, incorporation of bullet point lists (as well as section headings) will prove beneficial. Large unbroken amounts of text can be both off-putting and monotonous, while the breaking up of content with bullet point lists may convey you as someone that is both organised and well-considered. They not only add variety to the content, but can also be used to draw the reader’s focus to your primary selling points.

“Accept that people scan web [and other] pages, rather than read them in detail, and work with this reality rather than fight it.” (copyblogger.com)

As I’ve touched on in some of my earlier blogs, it’s really ‘worth the time to take the time’ to produce job-tailored, brand-selling resumes and other career documentation. In addition to ensuring your resume, cover letter, etc. are relevant and recent, as well as grammatically consistent and correct, consider formatting the content in a way that appeals to recruiters and other readers. Prioritise their needs and expectations, and they are going to be more likely to factor in your career ambitions and offerings.


Walton’s Words has extensive experience in helping job seekers compile professionally written, career-selling documentation. We can help construct resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, selection criteria, and any other documentation that will help you win your dream role. So drop us a line or give us a call if you’d like some assistance with your next career step.

Jeanette Walton received a Writing Expertise Acknowledgement via resumé work published in 7th edition of Resumes for Dummies

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