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The One-Verb Rule

My ruthless but most effective rule for writing bullet points is that there should be a single verb emphasized per line of your resume.

Strive to find a single-word solution for every bullet, if you can. It's not always possible, but it's something to strive for.

I often go through a client's resume with a highlighter and pick out one verb from each line. Then I show it to them, and I ask: did I choose the most important verbs?

Not surprisingly, the answer is often no, or "not quite."

The most meaningful verb is often sandwiched between a few other "supporting" verbs which can decrease the clarity of the line:

Planned, coordinated, and managed vendor booths at the annual Financial Planning summit.

In this case, my highlighter went to "planned" simply because it was the first verb in the line. But the most important part of the job turned out to be the on-site management of the vendors themselves. With that focus in mind, this bullet is better:

Managed on-site support for 50+ vendor booths at the annual Financial Planning summit.

And then beneath that one, we added a new line of content just around the planning part itself:

Planned early-stage design for vendor area including applications, raffle plan, and happy hour events.

So in this case, the one-verb rule helped us carve out 2 distinct and helpful pictures from a single role. Easier for the reader to interpret and digest.

Each line on the page describes one impressive thing that you "did" - so the "doing" should be contained in a single, powerful word.

© 2020 Ryan Prinz