CV tips: Writing effective bullet points (Part 1)

Posted in: Advice, Applications, Tips & Hints

Struggling to get bullet points right in your CV?

One of the things we notice most is how many students sell themselves short by writing ineffective bullet points lacking in crucial detail.

Often, it’s just about adding a few extra words here and there that can speak volumes about your experience and skills.

In the first part of this blog about writing effective bullet points, let’s look at the level of detail needed, and how to give recruiters a sense of scale of your activities.

Let’s imagine a student is applying for a Sports Development role. The job specification says that she’d be responsible for leading group activities, and the person specification states that the employer is looking for a confident person happy to use their own initiative.

Show off the range of your experience!

The student starts drafting her CV, and writes this:

  • Responsible for taking students on hikes and organising other outdoor activities.

A CV should tell an employer what you’ve done…right? Well, yes, but what’s written above only gives the employer a very basic sense of her duties. She’s missing a golden opportunity to show off the range of her experience.

She could redraft slightly so that it reads like this:

  • Co-led and supervised ten twelve to fifteen year olds on two-day hikes and other outdoor activities.

By using the words “co-led and supervised”, the student is telling the employer exactly what she did.   It’s clear that she has supervisory and leadership experience. Just being “responsible” for something doesn’t necessarily mean that you have done it! Similarly, try to avoid saying: “I was involved in” or “I assisted with”.  Again, this doesn’t tell the recruiter what you did!

Check out this blog on using effective language in your CV.

Give recruiters a sense of scale

The rewritten bullet point above also gives the employer a sense of scale. She has told the employer about the size of group she was responsible for, and the length of hike. It shows the employer that she can manage significant groups and activities and work in a particular kind of environment.

This is useful to remember if you’ve done a piece of research (was it of a significant size? How many interviews did you do?), or run an event (how many people attended?).

Check out Part 2 of this blog, which will cover how show off your skills and achievements in your bullet points.

In the meantime, for more useful tips on how to write your CV, see our Application, CV and Cover Letter guide or read this blog on typical CV errors.



Posted in: Advice, Applications, Tips & Hints


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