The experience description in your resume is a list of accomplishments.

An accomplishment statement or a “bullet point” is a short sentence.

It captures the essentials about the problem you solved, the skills you used, and the result you achieved.

How to write one?

Keep it short

Less is more.

When you say less, each word gets more attention.

Rule of thumb: Keep your accomplishment statement to one line. Two lines maximum.

Write 2-3 accomplishment statements per job.

How to choose accomplishments? Focus on these:

  • What was challenging
  • Where you achieved the most notable results
  • What’s relevant to the job

Fewer, relevant points are better than covering everything you’ve done.

If you have had many jobs, choose one single accomplishment for jobs older than 5 years. You can also combine jobs into one.

Show your personal role

Talk about what “I did” rather than “we did”.

Show what your personal role was. Not your team, boss, or company.

Things to avoid:

  • Listing your job responsibilities

    Led a team, spearheaded the project, was responsible for system stability

  • Listing your duties

    Conducted code reviews, maintained documentation, collaborated with cross-functional teams

How they are bad:

  • It’s unclear what you actually did
  • They are common to most SWE roles
  • They don’t show the impact of your work

If you see these as your accomplishments, phrase them to show your actions and results:

“Led a team”: initiated one-on-one meetings, reducing team turnover by 30% within six months

“Conducted code reviews”: implemented a checklist for common problems, reducing them by 50%

Find a balance between Skills and Results

Many resumes either talk too much about skills or focus too much on results.

You focus too much on skills: It remains unclear if you can use your knowledge to solve the company’s problems. You focus too much on results: It’s not clear how you got to those results and what your role was.

You want to show how you used your skills to achieve results for the company. You should find a balance between the two.

The result

Include a quantified result.

“Quantified” means you want a number. Don’t rush into adding some random number.

Fixed 35 bugs, created a layout for 10 pages, processed 3TB of data – that doesn’t give an idea of the scale of your impact.

You can use metrics like these if there is an industry standard for them. Otherwise, they are hard to interpret. For example, a 100ms response time is excellent for one system but unacceptable for another.

Instead, show what the business outcome is. This can be a tricky task. Depending on the company you may not have a good idea of the impact you are having.

Don’t go too far down the chain from what you did to the business value.

Let’s say, the company made $10 million in SaaS sales. Your contribution was to ensure the stability of the service. Claiming that this money was earned as a result is a stretch.

Reduced downtime or fewer user-reported issues might be more suitable metrics here.

Practical examples

You may have come across recommendations to use the STAR formula to write bullet points.

What is the STAR formula?

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

It’s a way to answer behavioral interview questions (“Tell me about <a certain work situation>”)

It’s great for job interviews. But, for resumes, it produces statements that are too long.

Here are two better alternatives for resumes.

The Challenge-Action-Result (CAR) Formula

How to use it? Think about:

  • What was the work situation or challenge
  • What actions you took, what skills you used
  • What was the result

Use this information to write a short sentence.


Challenge: Slow startup time affecting user experience in an Android application.
Action: Optimized critical sections of the application code, including API queries and UI rendering.
Result: Reduced app startup time by 40%.

Bullet point: Optimized API queries and UI rendering in an Android application, reducing app startup time by 40%.

Why is the CAR Formula good?

  • It forces you to talk about results rather than duties and responsibilities.
  • It is less storytelling-oriented than STAR and gives you a short line that fits well on a resume.
  • It balances out skills and results.

The “so what?” approach

Another approach is the “so what?” approach.

Keep asking yourself this question until you get to the business value.


I wrote a script for automatic deployment. So what?
It allows me to deploy code to production every 30 minutes. So what?
It allows the dev team to release updates more frequently. So what?
It has reduced the time from development to production by 20%.

Bullet point: Implemented automatic deployment, reducing the time from development to production by 20%.

If you can’t build a chain leading to business value, try to better understand how your work connects to company results.

Some questions that may help:

  • What are my company (department, team) goals?
  • How does my work contribute to them?
  • Does my work impact customer experience?
  • Does my work affect the productivity of my team or other teams?
  • Does my work lead to cost savings or increased revenue for the company?
  • Does my work influence the company’s competitive position in the market?
  • Does my work help in retaining existing customers or acquiring new ones?
  • Does my work impact the company’s reputation or brand image?