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Quick Tips for Writing Strong Resume Bullets

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Engineering Career Services’ Career Coaches and Advisors work with thousands of students each year as they build job search documents and navigate the work landscape. One thing is for certain, a strong resume makes the entire job search process much easier. It is the foundational document of your search. While your format, grammar and consistency play a part in the strength of your resume, how you describe your experiences is arguably the most impactful. Writing a strong resume bullet takes practice (and sometimes a little assistance) but using these tips can help you master it. 

Perform a job description audit. 

The job description is your instruction manual of exactly what the employer is seeking for a particular type of role. Select 2-3 jobs that are representative of the roles you are interested in and note how they describe the job and the desired qualifications. Ask yourself if you have those skills and experiences—and if you do, make sure that they show up in your resume. Integrating industry terms into your bullets not only strengthens them but shows the relevance of your work and involvement. 

Create impact statements, not task lists. 

When describing your experiences using bullets consider how you made a difference while you were in the role by reflecting on your largest projects or biggest points of pride. Your bullets should look more like active success statements rather than a passive description of tasks.

Use one of these simple bullet structures. 

Follow one of these two simple bullet formats to create concise impact statements.  

Action + Purpose 

  • Example: Collaborated in a multidisciplinary engineering team to design an energy efficient vehicle. 

Action + Results

  • Example: Analyzed production data and determined sequence strategy that reduced downtime by 76%.  

Remove passive phrases. 

It’s common in resume reviews for Advisors to see phrases such as “Tasked with…”, “Aided in…”, “Responsible for…”, and other passive introductory phrases. Remove these from your resume and opt for active verbs, such as “Analyzed”, “Developed”, “Initiated”, and “Streamlined”. Strong verbs catch the reader’s attention and concisely describe your contributions. A list of strong action verbs can be found in the Handshake Resource Library to get you started!

Vary your verbs. 

Once you’ve removed all the passive phrases, take note of the verbs you’ve used. Avoid beginning each bullet with one of the same few verbs, and instead use a variety. This allows you to keep the reader engaged while also highlighting your diverse skillset. 

Include results/numbers wherever possible. 

Quantify you impact wherever possible. Numbers such as time savings, cost savings, and percentages are easily understood by a diverse audience—whether that be practicing engineers or recruiters. 

Still need help crafting strong resume bullets? Check out our videos and documents in the Handshake Resource Library by keyword searching “resume” or consider attending drop-ins or scheduling an appointment with an ECS Advisor. 

“We all need people who give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” - Bill Gates 

 

Category: Resumes