To bullet or not to bullet?

ShannonIn my pursuit of a great cover letter, I have opened my mind to a new possible format including a bullet lists of my relevant skills. I have written one such letter and I am happy with it, but I am hesitant to send it.  The reason for my hesitation is that in discussing the bulleted style with coworkers, I have gotten seriously mixed reviews.

Some people feel, as I used to, that using bullets indicates laziness or that I was looking for the easy way out – but trust me, this is not the case.  I have spent three or four days writing and rewriting this thing.  Other people think bullets are a great idea because it helps the employer cut right to the chase by immediately pointing out my strongest qualifications.

Ultimately, I believe that it is going to come down to how the employer feels about bullets.  Of course, there is no way of knowing this ahead of time, but someone did suggest that I use the format of the job posting to make an educated guess; i.e., if the job description and requirements use bullets, then that employer might be more accepting of a bulleted cover letter.  I think that this is a genius idea, but it’s crazy how much analysis is going into a letter that may not even get read!

I have decided, even though this particular job posting was not written with bullets, that I am going to go ahead and send my cover letter with the bullets.  The main reason is that I like the way the bullets break up the page; my letter contains three bullets surrounded by four short paragraphs.  This is still a reasonably lengthy letter, so it might be overwhelming if it was entirely in paragraph form; the bullets make the letter much easier on the eyes.  Hopefully whoever reads my letter appreciates that!


Shannon will complete her studies as a Mass Communication Master’s student at the University of Delaware in May 2010 and is currently searching for a Marketing position at a college or university. She works as the Marketing & Career Resources Graduate Assistant at UD’s Career Services Center, helping students with their career preparation and creating publications such as newsletters and conference materials. Shannon loves sports (go New York!) and music. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

  1. I am a fan of the bullet style and have utilized it througout my career. And some would say successfully! I’m sure either “style” will work and may be more of a personalization, but my experience with executive consultants is they preach a results driven history, which shows better with bullets.

    Think we’re related?! lol


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