Resumes call for a particular format involving leaving out personal pronouns and including many half sentences or phrases instead of full sentences.
Because we use this unusual method of writing, is it appropriate to include periods at the end of a bulleted list?
Should You Use Periods with Bullet Points on a Resume?
Periods are not often used in bullet points on a resume. Bullet points should not be written in full or complete sentences, nullifying the need for a period. If you do write your resume using full sentences with bullet points, include periods in every section to remain consistent.
Personal pronouns such as I, me, we, etc. are not to be used on a resume. This is because you can save space by getting straight to the subject.
The reader of your resume will assume that it is you who completed the feats on the page, thus is it redundant to use such pronouns.
By omitting the pronouns, the sentences on the resume are no longer considered “full sentences”.
Even in a place where it seems a period may be needed, it is typical to omit it. Consider the differences in the following two lines:
- Collaborated on a year-long research project in Antarctica
- I collaborated with colleagues on a year-long research project in Antarctica.
In an instance where you can shorten a line to its most important details, always do so. Let’s see another example of how we can summarize an accomplishment:
- CALI Award for International Law (2020)
- I achieved the CALI Excellence for the Future Award® (highest grade in the class) for International Law.
Saving valuable space on a resume is one of the most important priorities when writing one.
Do not use personal pronouns on a resume, and do not use full sentences.
How many bullet points you should use depends on the section, but most places call for 3-4 max.
If you are a very recent graduate or have no other job experience, you may choose to write in full sentences just to fill space (though we have some alternative tips if you have nothing to put on your resume).
While full sentences are not often recommended, it may be necessary for those new to the job market. Let’s look at a few ways this can be done.
How to use periods in bulleted lists on a resume
If a resume is written using periods, then you must continue to be consistent with this punctuation throughout the whole resume. If one sentence in a section contains a period, then they should all end in a period. If one bullet point ends in a period, all bullet points must end in a period.
Let’s look at an example of period usage in the experience section in the case of a nanny:
Household Nanny (March 2016 ) – (December 2020)
- Ensured the proper daily care of three children aged 6-12.
- Completed task lists which included driving, cooking, and tutoring.
- Maintained a daily schedule of appointments and deadlines.
Even though personal pronouns are left off, periods may still be used. Resumes are a bit of a grey area when it comes to proper punctuation, which gives you a bit of wiggle room for formatting.
Periods do not look strange when included in longer sentences such as these.
For short sentences such as in the skills section, periods tend to look more out of place. Let’s look at some skills both self-taught and school-learned:
- Adobe Photoshop.
- Spanish Language (advanced).
- C++ Certified Professional Programmer C++ Institute (5-2017).
You can see where the one longer sentence about the C++ programming language stands out and looks awkward with the other shorter bullet points.
The use of a period in the third bullet makes it necessary to also include periods in the first two shorter bullets.
In order to keep a resume consistent, try to match bullet points in both length and punctuation. This section can be fixed up to look like this:
- Adobe Photoshop
- Spanish Language (advanced)
- C++ Certified Professional Programmer
Having no periods on a resume is the safest bet and makes it easiest to remain consistent throughout. Be sure to double-check your resume after writing because it is easy to accidentally include periods by force of habit.
If there is a period in one section and no period in another, it looks like an oversight! Always proofread your resume for period usage errors so you can present yourself to an employer in the best way possible.
Now, last but not least, I have also prepared a full PDF for you guys covering everything you need to know about how to write a resume in general (Top 20 Resume Writing Tips!).
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Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.