Ah, the art of bullet writing. From the very first Air Force evaluation in the wonder years of the late 1940’s to today’s latest EPR form, many have been bested by the arduous task of taking life itself, amplifying it’s quintessence, whittling large narratives and compartmentalizing facts into… A single; three part bullet–with an impact [here].
So, where to begin? Let’s take into account how much weight an Air Force bullet holds. It’s a remarkable statement that can change the tide of a SrA Below-the-zone competition, it can validate those who are, as written, the best performers of the quarter/year and it can make or break promotion recommendations and even promotions themselves.
The bullet formula has many styles; from it’s simplest form of “Act-Impact”, then to a more in-depth and commonly used “Action-Result-Impact”. Personally, I find the latter to have two parts that are redundant. A result is and can also be an impact.
So we arrive at what I prefer, “Act-Fact-Impact” or AFI for short. Vaguely familiar right?
The end result of shaping your bullet with “Act-Fact-Impact” allows you to write in an active voice. Active voice is the preferred way of speaking as it is direct and to the point. “Airman David ate breakfast”. The active voice is broken into 3 parts as well; Actor, Action and Recipient.
Let’s put it to practice. If Airman David helped with base clean-up, spent 8 hours bagging leaves, cleaned 4 square miles and led his fellow airman in the charge we can extract this bullet:
– Led 4-man team in base beautification; cleaned 4 sq miles in 8 hours–improved image of facilities & compound.
Sure, this is a simple bullet, but it’s exactly what happened. And anyone who reads it regardless of AFSC will know what it means. As we said at the begining, let’s keep it simple. What did you do(act), tell me something about it(fact) and how did impact others?(impact). Now take this simplistic bullet and fine tune it with a much stronger impact such as cost savings or manpower efficiency and you’re good to go.
A common thought is that this is acceptable:
– Led 4 BSRP Ann/NCO TARPA proj; 6 BMP/JPG/MOV increase vs ABCsec tm–inc prod 500% to USAF std
For your career field, that may be the trend. It is not acceptable as it isn’t helpful. Bullets weighed down with catastrophic acronyms and decoder ring secured details may seem important, but let’s be honest. Any reviewing panel previously mentioned that oversee awards or such will start drooling as the grey matter leaks out of the judges’ ears. Keep it simple. For the judges… think of the safety of the panel.
To conclude, these “great works of fiction” or similar language that some have come accustomed to referencing, don’t have to be that.
Just remember, AFI or Act, Fact & Impact. Often times, the best solution is also the simplest.