How To Write Standout CV Bullet Points That Land InterviewsAug 06, 2023
Today, I'll show you how to write CV bullets that will increase your chances of getting interviews.
[CV = Resume for those of your in the US].
When a hiring manager looks at your CV, they want to get straight to the point.
If they encounter an impenetrable block of text, it's unlikely to grab their attention.
Moreover, if they can't quickly figure out your transferable skills or achievements for their vacancy…
Your application is more likely to end up in the bin than in the "yes tray".
So, what makes an effective CV bullet point?
A framework to write effective CV bullet points.
The key is that each bullet point needs to demonstrate value and highlight your experience in an effective way.
To make it easy for you, here's a specific 3-step framework you can use as a checklist when writing each of your bullet points.
Step 1: Skill
Each bullet should highlight the relevant skills you possess for the desired position.
Here's my approach: I carefully read the job description of the position I want and create a list of the top skills I believe an ideal candidate should have (e.g., leadership, customer service, coaching, and people development).
To ensure the hiring manager can easily spot these skills, I begin each bullet with a clear indication of the skill it demonstrates. This not only makes it more noticeable in your CV but also simplifies the process for the hiring manager.
Start by listing out the skills you want to showcase, like this:
- Leadership: [Bullet]
- Process Improvement: [Bullet]
- Coaching & Development: [Bullet]
By organising your CV this way, you make it effortless for the hiring manager to see your qualifications at a glance.
We can now move on to the next step where we’re going to write out your bullets.
Step 2: Result
When you head out to the supermarket for your weekly shopping, would you ever be content with not knowing the prices on the shelves before you buy?
I'm going to assume that's a resounding "NO!"
Yet, surprisingly, many people make a similar mistake when crafting their CVs.
They fail to include the value they have to offer on their CVs.
Instead, they fill their CV with generic fluff.
Phrases like "Developing and coaching the team," "Managing budgets," and "Driving sales".
These are all meaningless statements without concrete evidence of the value delivered.
When you apply for a job, you're essentially asking the employer to invest a significant sum of money in you.
Imagine aiming for a £40k ($51k) salary expectation—would you blindly buy a £40k ($51k) car without researching if it's genuinely worth that price to you? Of course not.
So, why do candidates expect their CVs to be convincing without demonstrating the value they bring?
As someone who has reviewed over 500 CVs for senior roles, I won't spare a glance at a CV without tangible results.
Now, I want you to go think about the value you’ve delivered using your own skills.
For example, here are the skills we identified earlier with some example values:
- Leadership: Increased sales by £1.7m YoY.
- Process Improvement: Reduced stock loss from 1.9% down to 1.5% (£140k saving).
- Coaching & Development: Improved our customer service measure from 70% to 90% YoY.
You can already see that we've moved away from generic statements and built tangible value that justifies your salary expectation.
Step 3: Action
Next, in Step 3, we'll demonstrate how you achieved those results (in Step 2) using the skills identified in Step 1.
This might require some brainstorming but think about one top-level action you took related to each skill that contributed to the result.
For instance, I mentioned increasing sales by £1.7m due to my leadership skills.
How did I do this? By using my leadership abilities to create a high-performing operation.
Now, let's look at the reduced stock loss.
This was accomplished by developing the team to implement better stock loss routines.
Lastly, in terms of increasing customer service, I achieved this by coaching and developing the team to deliver an outstanding customer experience.
Now, let's rephrase our examples:
- Leadership: Transformed [Store Name] into a high-performing operation, earning the store of the year award in 2019, and increasing sales by £1.7m.
- Process Improvement: Successfully reduced stock loss from 1.9% to 1.5%, resulting in a £140k saving, through improved team capabilities and stronger stock loss routines.
- Coaching & Development: Implemented a best-in-class customer experience by coaching and developing the team, resulting in a consistent increase of our in-store customer service measure from 70% to 90%.
Top Tip: Google action verbs and make sure to include them at the beginning of each sentence, as it simplifies the writing process (e.g., Transformed, Reduced, Coached).
Let’s take a deeper look at the “coaching & development” bullet we created in the last example.
The job description wanted someone who could develop and coach a team, which is why we came up with the “Coaching & Development” skill.
As a result, you’d expect to see the skill "Coaching & Development" listed on your CV as a key skill.
And then if you were going to provide some tangible results for this skill.
Instead of writing...
Developing and coaching the team.
You could write...
Coaching & Development: Implemented a best-in-class customer experience by coaching and developing the team, resulting in a consistent increase of our in-store customer service measure from 70% to 90%.
How much better does that look compared to just "Developing and coaching the team".
Skill: You start with the skill you're evidencing "Coaching & Development”.
Action: You show how you used that skill "Implemented a best-in-class customer experience by coaching and developing the team".
Result: Then you showed the tangible result from using this skill "resulting in a consistent increase of our in-store customer service measure from 70% to 90%."
Skill + Action + Result
It doesn't have to be more than 2 sentences; it should be to the point and not give too much away.
You want the hiring manager reading these bullets thinking... I want to find out more about this person, let's bring them into an interview so we can find out how they did that in more detail.
Then you can elaborate in your interview.
Struggling to come up with content?
If you're struggling to come up with examples to write about.
Try adding at the start "tell me about a time…."
and "what did you do, what was the result?" at the end..
...of each requirement listed in the job description.
So if it did list...
• Developing and coaching the team
• Managing budgets
• Driving sales
You could re-write it as;
• Tell me about a time you coached and developed a team? what did you do? what was the result?
• Tell me about a time you managed a budget successfully? what did you do, what was the result?
• Tell me about a time you increased sales? what did you do what was the result?
In summary, I've shown you how to write effective CV bullets that will increase your chances of getting interviews.
By following the three-step framework, you can create powerful and impactful bullet points that showcase your skills and accomplishments.
Starting with Step 1, we identified the relevant skills for the desired position, making them easy to spot by the hiring manager. Step 2 emphasized the importance of providing tangible results, avoiding generic statements and adding value to your CV.
Step 3 demonstrated how to show the actions you took to achieve those results, using strong action verbs to make your points stand out. Remember, each bullet should be concise, capturing the hiring manager's attention and leaving them eager to learn more about your achievements during the interview.
By applying these strategies, you can craft a standout CV that sets you apart from the competition and paves the way for successful interviews.
That’s all for this week.
Happy job hunting!
Whenever you're ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:
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