Why are the CV summary bullet points important and how can they help you?

As a recruiter with years of screening hundreds if not thousands of job applications, I can tell you that after the first, initial scan of a resume, it is the bullets points and key experience statements of the resume which I focus on that helps me through my screening process.

Specific work experience and project work statements assists in matching not only what the company is looking for in a candidate now but with its future projects being planned months and sometimes years in advance.  The added value the candidate can bring that makes me feel confident to present them to the hiring manager are often found in knowing the details of their accomplishments.

This is confirmed by one hiring manager who I have worked with who said:

” I find the bullet points description of the past job experience a practical and effective way to increase the chance of the candidate being hired. It tells me in one or two lines their capacity and ability to do work of some value or scope. It is clear and sometimes people prefer to write sentence after sentence to describe their work when a concise clear indication is all that is needed.”

Writing great bullet points on your resume is essential to get a follow-up call

How to make your CV bullet point accomplishments stand out

A good way to make your CV bullet points stand out is to use the SOAR method (members link to careers corner forum) to list your accomplishments and results. If you are new to the job market, look to your leadership moments or membership of your local association (Verein), clubs and groups.

We need to change the general statements written which as candidates of mine know often fail the “Rose Test”(the name of a professional English teacher and proofreader who works with me and also is my wife) and I ask them to re-write their summary or sections to better highlight their accomplishments.

Actual re-write request examples include:

  • Responsible for the daily handling of a high volume of client orders and packaging requests
  • Responsible for the day to day management activities and long term project development for our larger accounts
  • Led the closure of French operations and managed myself out of a job as last employee.
  • Managed the supply chain SAP upgrade at our plants and warehouse
  • Responsible for the IT function, the move to cloud computing and for ordering all company laptops, servers and other equipment.

In two cases, the people who wrote this were at director level and seeking a job for the first time in years. They were trying to bridge the need of some Swiss companies to write in a limited format and the US style where more information is provided.

In all cases, as a recruiter, it is our duty to support and help those when we see major mistakes on a CV document, hence writing this post which I hope some will find useful.

Was there anything wrong with those statements above?

Yes, too often candidates write in general terms or list keyword statements which can sometimes look like an MBA assignment exercise result.

None of the statements are an accomplishment.  Instead they seem to read like a list of responsibilities, the ones you may see listed in a job description or that were assigned to the person by their manager.

Examples to show how you can improve your CV bullet point statements and your chances for an interview

First, using three examples from above:

  • Handled 1000+ computerised client orders and 200 special or high value carton material packaging requests on a daily basis
  • Utilised the day-to-day customer management system to  managed the diary and sales calls of 20 staff
  • Led  project teams in successfully securing sales contracts worth over €10 million in capital equipment
  • Led the closure and cessation of all French manufacturing operations signing off all legal, environmental, equipment and plant sale, property leases and documentation as Managing Director
  • Managed the change to and adoption of SAP at five manufacturing plants, one logistics and warehousing centre impacting 528 users and 685 customers and suppliers
  • Responsible for the IT function, the international adoption of cloud computing in six country offices and a IT capital project spend of CHF 450,000

Look back at the earlier examples what is different?

Not only do you insert actual or close to actual numbers ( million plus can be 11-50 million to hide some of the facts for a previous employer), they are very specific and offer any recruiter or hiring team the chance to say at interview “please tell me about the problems and success you encountered working on your cloud computing change”, etc.

Remember – money talks. these statements are powerful because you can defend and talk about the work, the hard times and the good as you experienced it as well. These moments in your life are lived by many in other companies, so your bullet points relate to others who read your CV.

So how do we ensure you are never a “Rose Test” referral?

12 Good examples to help you use in your own words and context:

  1. Successfully reduced staffing agency costs by $200,000 by introducing an employee referral program paying staff $500 per successful hire.
  2. Received Junior Consultant of the Year Award (pool of 200 staff globally) and multiple Employee of the Month Awards (pool of 130 staff)
  3. Enjoyed recognition at SCM World Conference 2014 for designing and successfully implementing new CHF 10 million plus global carbon footprint supply chain CO2 reduction strategy
  4. Reduced annual purchasing spend by 12% by bundling Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers work and added value costs together across two commodity groups: electronics and electrical
  5. Launched a 5-year, $50 million EMEA business impact e-commerce strategy to manage legacy equipment spares and parts to support new model introductions
  6. Negotiated our new office lease and change of equipment supplier, resulting in an annual saving of €6,500
  7. Secured agreement from HR Director to implement a new Candidate Tracking System (ATS), becoming the super-user to train 10 users
  8. Created a 5-year marketing business plan to support both sales and R&D to better align new product developments and user awareness to reduce annual PR or training requests
  9. Defined strategic vision and mission statement with colleagues from other business functions and experience levels which gained board approval
  10. Achieved over 110% of sales quota in the Fiscal Year 2015
  11. Led and managed a team of 4 Account Managers, with responsibility for successful onboarding, training and retention ( 24 months minimum to achieve a bonus).
  12. Successfully led the market entry and product launch of mobile calling cards into Egypt to support the new Africa sales strategy  and to make the first sales into Africa

So you read this far and you think you need to tweak or update your CV?

A quick way to do this is to:

  • Visit the member forum Careers Corner to refresh your mind on SOAR and STAR and your need to apply only sections A-R to your CV.
    • For those not seeking to be members this link will help you and you just need to concentrate on the action and results sections.
  • Have an honest conversation with your former boss, company mentor or colleagues to help you to write your list.
  • Review Linkedin and Xing profiles of people in similar roles and at similar levels

OR

You could also contact the author, Andrew Travers  requesting a quick call back for advice who may refer you to another group member if required.

OR

Attend an upcoming networking event, roundtable or forum and someone will be able to help you or give advice.

We hope this post helps everyone who is looking to get their new job.

As a reader please if you have any examples of bullet points you know work or as a Hiring Manager who can share a nugget of advice, please comment and help others to secure an interview and get past the CV screening and candidate selection stage.

(comments are all reviewed prior to posting. We can post as anon if preferred and requested)

Author of post: Andrew Travers, Group Founder

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Thank you for your interest and question, we will handle your request as soon as we can. Best wishes, Andrew and Rose

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