Including bullet points on your CV can draw attention to your achievements, break up bulky chunks of text and improve the overall reading experience of your document. But how many bullet points is too many?
How Many Bullet Points Should You Include on Your CV?
Posted by CV Nation on
You should include between 5 and 7 bullet points on your CV for each job. Any more than this may defeat their purpose and result in the key information becoming ‘watered down’. For roles of 10 years ago or more, you should include only 2 or 3 bullet points as these positions are less relevant.
When using bullet points on your CV, it’s important to know that there can be too many.
The aim of bullet points is to make your CV’s key information stand out. But including too many bullet points can result in none of the key information standing out.
This is because bullet points lose their effectiveness when there are too many. When they are not used to highlight a small number of achievements, but instead to detail a long list of information, the bullet points don’t stand out.
For this reason, it’s recommended to aim for between 5 and 7 bullet points for your job posts within the previous 10 years.
This number enables you to include plenty of interesting points while ensuring you don’t lose the attention of the reader in a quagmire of information.
Where should you use bullet points?
Bullet points are most commonly used in work experience sections on CVs to list job duties and achievements.
This is the area of your CV where bullet points can add most value as they make your key accomplishments more prominent.
When writing your CV’s work experience section, list between 5 and 7 of your key successes and experiences. Avoid generic responsibilities as there is no great benefit in drawing attention to such information.
Here is an example of a CV's work experience section that makes use of bullet points:
Bullet points are rarely used in the education section on CVs.
However, graduates with little or no work experience often use bullet points in their education section to highlight key skills acquired during their academic experiences.
This makes up for a lack of real-world work experience.
If you’re a fresh graduate with little work experience, include a small number of bullet points along with your qualifications to showcase your skills and experiences.
Voluntary work sections are usually formatted and presented in the same way as work experience sections.
As with your work experience section, bullet points in volunteering sections should be used to highlight key successes and the most relevant information.
Skills sections often use bullet points to highlight a small number of core competencies. Using professionally-formatted bullet points in skills sections is a great way of drawing attention to your most important skills.
Here is an example of a CV’s skills section that uses bullet points:
Personal statement/professional profile
Although bullet points are not usually used in personal statements – brief introductions to your CV, which are often referred to as professional profiles and summaries – they can be used to break up text and improve the reading experience.
Here is an example:
When writing the text of your bullet points, use powerful action verbs to make your accomplishments stand out.
Action verbs, often referred to as power verbs, are verbs that bolster your writing and enable the reader to envision you as an achiever.
Generated a 7% revenue growth by restructuring the Marketing department
Examples of action verbs include:
Which type of bullet points should you use on your CV?
In most word processors, including Microsoft Word, there are a wide range of bullet point options, including ticks, stars, diamonds and various other shapes.
Avoid these creative bullet points and stick with the standard circle or square. These standard, commonly used bullet points will look more professional on your CV.
Using unique shapes or icons as bullet points can come across as juvenile.
Further bullet point tips
Don’t include full stops
Bullet point text should not end with a period as the text of bullet points are not complete sentences. If you feel you need to expand on the text, use a semi colon instead of a full stop.
Avoid single words that trail over onto the next line
It’s perfectly acceptable for bullet point text to extend to more than one line. However, avoid single words that trail over onto the next line.
Instead, aim for either one complete line of text or one and a half lines of text.
Be consistent with the formatting
To ensure your CV looks professional, keep the formatting of your bullet points consistent and make sure they are accurately positioned in line with each other.
Additionally, ensure the spacing above and below each bullet point is consistent.
To edit the spacing between bullet points in Microsoft Word, highlight the bullet points, click ‘Layout’, then click the ‘Paragraph’ function. Then select the amount of spacing you would like to apply between each bullet point.
This will ensure that the spacing is consistent between each bullet point.
Between 5 and 7 bullet points for each job is the optimal number of bullet points to include on your CV. Listing too many bullet points may defeat their purpose and dilute the key information that you are trying to convey.
For positions of 10 years ago or more, only around 2 or 3 bullet points should usually be included as your focus should largely be placed on your more recent experiences.
Need further help writing your CV? Use our definitive guide on how to write a CV, which covers every aspect of CV writing, to prepare a powerful CV that gets you results in the job market.