If you’re wondering whether to write your resume in bullet points or paragraphs, here’s an answer you might not expect: both! Our writers often use both with the “Hybrid-Paragraph Method,” to craft great resumes. Read on to find out why and how!
By: Daniel Lorenzo | Content Marketing Manager for Let’s Eat, Grandma
When starting off to write a new resume, you’ve probably asked yourself: “Should I write my professional experiences in bullet points or paragraphs?” It’s a fair question.
While bullets are always preferable, there are advantages to some full-sentence descriptions on your resume. You absolutely need quantified, results-oriented bullet points to impress hiring managers, but what if there’s more information you need to explain?
What if nobody knows what your company did? What if your position had a lot of duties that were hard to explain? What if the scope of your responsibilities was impressive, but you can’t attach a number to every single one of them? (I can’t count how many times clients have explained a job by saying “I really did everything.”)
And yet, you can’t just go and write up a book report on each job: a hiring manager still has to read it! What to do?
For an answer to this dilemma, let’s turn to America’s most trusted source of information: television.
For those not in the know, this GIF is from an old commercial (one of my favorites) for Old El Paso taco shells, in which a girl settles a heated family debate over flour or corn tortillas (a serious topic) with a simple answer:
“Why not both?”
Resume Bullet Points or Paragraphs: Try Both With This Method
Here at Let’s Eat, Grandma, we’ve applied this little girl’s wisdom to the “resume bullet points or paragraphs” question with what we call the “Hybrid-Paragraph Method.”
Rather than just a big list of bullet points or paragraphs that are long and dull, try this method out:
Write a short paragraph around 2 sentences to describe the position and your responsibilities, and then list a few bullet points that are laser-focused on specific, quantified accomplishments.
We often use the Hybrid-Paragraph Method with our clients to describe both their impressive responsibilities and their quantified accomplishments for a given position. It’s extremely useful for jobs in which you might have had a variety of duties, or need some supplemental information.
Here are 3 reasons you should use it, and a great example:
#1: It clarifies your responsibilities (and anything else).
We’ve all been in a job in which we “did everything.” Whether it was taking over slacking co-workers’ responsibilities, being pushed by a boss, or just generally going above-and-beyond, it can be good to convey the breadth of things you were trusted with in a job.
Or maybe you were in an unconventional job that just requires some context for your accomplishments (trust me: I had to explain volunteering in a homeless shelter for a year!)
The paragraph part of the Hybrid-Paragraph method gives you room to explain any and all of that without overloading the resume.
#2: It makes your bullet points better.
On that same note, that small paragraph also frees up space in your bullet points. By not having to explain duties, you can get right-to-the-point and describe only accomplishments in your bullets.
- Liaised with clients and reviewed documentation to create a new buy-back program, improving process and increasing profits by 30% for Q2.
Can become just:
- Created a new buy-back program, increasing profits by 30% for Q2.
Dang. Doesn’t that just *pop*?
#3: It’s space-saving and visually appealing.
Finally, good ol’ Hybrid-Paragraph just looks plain neat on a page. It optimizes the flow of your resume, helping recruiters skim through it to easily find what they want.
Remember: “Why not both?” You don’t have to make a hard choice between resume bullet points or paragraphs. Get creative with your resume formatting and try the Hybrid-Paragraph Method to make your professional experiences shine.
If you’re stuck in your job search, imagine how much better we could make your resume. Sign up on our homepage now for a FREE phone consultation with one of Let’s Eat, Grandma’s business writing experts, and find out how we can land you your dream job.
(P.S. If you enjoyed this explanation, check out even more helpful tips on our Blog, LinkedIn, and Career Warrior Podcast!)