By James Van, Director of Career Services and Professional Development at SoloLearn
Using bullet points in your resume is a great way to organize and format information such that recruiters and hiring managers are easily able to scan your resume. Using the C-A-R formula allows you to include important information that describe professional achievements in a concise manner. Let’s review the C-A-R method from our previous article:
C-A-R is an acronym for Challenge-Action-Results.
- Challenge: answers the question “What was the problem you are/were trying to solve?”
- Action: answers the question “How did you solve the problem?”
- Results: answers the question “Why did you take these actions” or “What was the outcome?”
C-A-R Content Order
While starting the bullet point with the “Challenge”, then “Action” and finishing with the “Result” is common, there is no requirement to write in this order. Because readers of your resume will start on the left margin and move towards the right margin, your first words should capture the reader’s attention. The content that is placed early in the bullet point will naturally be emphasized over the content in the latter half of the bullet point. Order your content accordingly. Here is an example of how you might emphasize different points based on content order within the bullet point:
Built a real-time fraud detection app for an online ticket marketplace client with 92% f1 score. Methodologies include random forest, gradient boosting, SVM, and flask.
Achieved a 92% f1 score when building a real-time fraud detection app for an online ticket marketplace client. Methodologies include random forest, gradient boosting, SVM, and flask.
Utilized random forest, gradient boosting, SVM, and flask to build a real-time fraud detection app for an online ticket marketplace client. Achieved a 92% f1 score.
Built a real-time fraud detection app for an online ticket marketplace client using random forest, gradient boosting, SVM, and flask. Achieved a 92% f1 score.
Review the four examples above. Each of them contains the same content, but in different orders so as to demonstrate achievement. In each example, RED text denotes the “challenge”, BLUE text describes the “action”, and BLACK text is the “outcome/result”. While each bullet essentially says the same thing, the emphasis is placed on the content written first. Which do you find is most effective?
Each component of the C-A-R statement is necessary to complete the entire achievement.
Job- or Project-Specific Technical Skills Summary
Some tech resumes provide a skills summary with each project and previous job. Summarize the entire tech stack for the reader, which frees up space in your bullets to focus on specific achievements and/or milestones for the job/project.
Null table back-end design and implementation for a restaurant reservation app.
- Optimized database of 125M entries by adjusting, configuration, and adding Redis cache to reduce database queries for common requests.
- Deployed server to AWS with Docker and proxy.
- Horizontally scaled service by adding four additional servers to reduce error rate to 0.1% and decrease latency from 1500ms to <100ms.
- Implemented NGINX load balancer to distribute high volume traffic among multiple server instances, increasing throughput to 1800 rps.
Tech Stack: React, Express, Node.js, NGINX, Webpack, Redis, PostgreSQL, Docker, AWS-EC2
Used scikit-learn to build gradient boosting models for forecasting monthly product sales. Final model achieved 34% higher prediction accuracy than the existing algorithm with an expected saving of $1.3M in inventory cost over the last year period. Technologies used: Python, scikit-learn, NumPy, pandas, gradient boosting, random forests
The tech stack summary serves two purposes. It helps increase your keyword SEO count for ATS systems. It is also a quick reference point for the tech stack used in each project.
Space permitting, include a tech stack summary for each project and job to help connect the dots for the reader. The list of technologies used is typically signaled by starting the line with a phrase such as, “technologies used” or “technology stack”. The list is located either at the beginning of the job or project description, or at the end.
Professional Summary (Optional)
Writing a professional summary is an optional component of your resume, though it is important to include when switching careers. For example, if you have been an analyst, and are applying for data science positions now that you’ve upgraded your skills, a professional summary will help contextualize your career transition.
The professional summary is located at the top of the resume, and is used to summarize your relevant expertise, experience and skills. Include at least one example of a significant achievement, which brands you as a working professional that strives for achievement.
Concisely describing an achievement also conditions the reader to search for more examples of achievements. If you have successfully written bullet point achievements for each of your jobs and projects, they will “pop” for the reader with a preview in the professional summary.
The professional summary is easiest to write last -- write the rest of your resume first, then come back to write your professional summary as a last step. Your summary should focus on you as a candidate and a person. Employers are interested in learning about who you are as a potential candidate, what motivates you, and what you have to offer.
Standard Template For A Professional Summary:
- Anchor: how do you identify as a working professional? (example: data scientist, full stack web developer, etc)
- Years of professional experience, preferably relevant
- Competencies (what types of problems are you able to solve)
- A few of your most relevant skills
- Energy statement (what motivates you to solve your targeted problems)
- Your philosophical approach to your job
Professional Summary Example:
Data Scientist with a background in digital media, corporate social responsibility, international development, and gender equality. Skilled researcher with experience in machine learning algorithms, data processing tools, and statistical models. Earnestly enjoys asking creative questions of data and gleaning actionable insights.
In his over 20 year career, James Van has helped thousands find their next job. James began his career as a technical recruiter in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. After nine years of recruiting, James completed his Masters in Counselor Education at San Jose State University and transitioned into career counseling and coaching. James has supported the career growth of his students at institutions such as UC Berkeley, Hult International Business School, and Galvanize. He recently joined SoloLearn , a self-paced earn-to-code platform providing excellent technical instruction. In his personal hours, James enjoys spending his time with his family, windsurfing, surfing, and cycling.