An "A" on your resume does NOT mean you have an "A" quality resume!

Your "A" does NOT mean you have an "A" quality resume!Some students believe getting an “A” on their resume in school means that their resume is an “A” quality resume. Sounds logical, right?

Recently, my intern was talking to a classmate who insisted that her resume was a quality resume because she got an “A” on it. My intern snickered and said, “Sure, so did I.” But she wrote it before she met me and spent time studying quality resumes and resume strategies. Now she knows her original resume lacked the value and accomplishments needed for a successful resume.

Selected despite the resume

When I chose my intern, my decision was made despite her resume. I had asked my contacts at a college about their intern program and asked for resumes of possible candidates. What sold me on my intern was the solid recommendation she got from the head of the program. She said, ” As promised here is the resume of a student that I believe would be an asset to you and your business.” and went on to explain why.

In this case, I ignored the resume other than to read the basics because part of the internship plan included working with me to create a compelling resume and job search strategy.

In the month plus we worked together, my choice has been proven right. But most companies don’t get past a bad resume and you will never get the chance to prove you have the value they seek.

What’s wrong with getting an A on your resume?

  1. Typically, classes in resumes in high school and college are taught by someone who has no training in resume writing and the book they are using as their guide is an old English book (or a new English book with old information.)
  2. Classes in college tend to push duties over accomplishments. Everyone can list duties, it’s what you have done with those duties that make you the shining star that they want. A professional resume writer spends time probing you to find those hidden gems of information to make you stand out and then phrases them in a way to compel the hiring manager to call you for an interview. Can you do this yourself? Absolutely! But you need to know what questions to ask yourself and you need to know how to write like a professional resume writer.
  3. More often than not in school, the emphasis is on the one page resume instead of concern over whether you have value and content to fill more than one page.

I know qualified professionals on campus career centers completed training by the professional career industry. Sadly though, most campuses fail to hire someone with that training. So the students are taught by someone reading from an old book.

The “A” grade on your resume may yield no responses from employers

Even more scary, the job seeker who got an “A” on their resume is baffled when they don’t get responses from employers. As I shared the beginnings of this post with my intern, she said, “Now I know exactly why my “A” on my resume wouldn’t have done the job to get me a job. It lacked the essential ingredients of a good resume. But the best part is, when I get ready to look for a new position, I’ll have an “A” quality resume!”

Why? We discuss resume strategy during each of our work sessions and my intern will benefit from a new resume designed and developed using cutting edge career solutions!

Need help? While job search is often painful, as a Certified Master Resume Writer, I take the pain out of writing your resume and even make it fun with a personalized, interactive process. Know someone who needs me? Gift certificates are available. Explore my resume packages here.

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  1. Dawn Bugni on January 15, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Truer words never spoken Julie!

    I worked with a new graduate recently. He was “more than proud” to send his “A” resume to me. It was a Word-templated dinosaur taken directly from a page out of a resume book written in 1990. I asked him for his teacher’s name and contact information … and not in a good way. 🙂

    The resume also contained a list of school achievements with no context for the reader as to why they were impressive. How was I to infer successful fundraising and an amount from “Helped with ‘celebrity-look-alike’ carnival?”

    This “A” document included an extensive list of academic courses he’d taken. He, as the writer, assumed the hiring authority would know what Econ 101 entailed and would also know specifically why taking that particular course would benefit the company. Unfortunately, that assumption is 1000% incorrect.

    My client (like your intern) was stunned after I delivered his new resume. He now saw the astonishing difference between a laundry list of school “stuff” and a career document conveying the value he brought to an organization.

    Career centers are often under-funded, under-staffed and trying to provide information to tens of thousands of students and alumni as economically and expeditiously as possible. Unfortunately, this often results in “cookie-cutter”, out-dated information shared as “gospel.”

    I’m saddened when I see someone has invested thousands of dollars and hours in earning a degree, yet fail to invest just a little bit more in getting cutting edge, up-to-the-minute guidance when starting their careers.

    There’s a big difference between cookie-cutter resumes that might eventually land an interview for a job and documents that launch successful careers.

    Good topic Jules!

    • Julie Walraven on January 15, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks, my friend… I love that we learn from each other. Now I am dying to see what a Master Resume Writer does with a student resume! I will call you soon to get my dose of Dawn… 🙂

  2. Carol Wilson on January 16, 2012 at 3:01 am

    Offcouse any grade on your resume doesnot means that its the best one and such misconceptions are usually seen in high schools and colleges.Well, your resume is the first meeting between you and a prospective employer more often now than ever.The purpose of the resume is to get the interview. After reading it, employers should want to get to know you better. Your resume is your friend, if properly prepared.

    • Julie Walraven on February 14, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Carol. The resume is designed to get you the interview and it is also designed to get you through the ATS systems. An A quality resume will not only address your talents, it will contain the keywords that match the job description for the positions you target.

  3. Nehemiah Rhode on January 29, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Thanks again for the blog.Much thanks again.

    • Julie Walraven on February 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      You are very welcome and I thank you for stopping by. Hopefully, my suggestions will have value for you.

  4. Pettina26 on January 30, 2012 at 5:48 am

    I will always remember all the things you gather from us, I will put on my minds that creating a resume is not just counting 123.

    • Julie Walraven on February 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      Good point! counting 123 doesn’t help very much. As you progress in your career, you need to add much more value to your resume.

  5. Cynthia Sadler on February 2, 2012 at 3:28 am

    People always ask me a question “To employers, what is considered a quality resume & cover letter that will almost guarantee an interview?”. I will ask them just look at this article. Thanks.

    • Julie Walraven on February 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm

      Thank you for stopping by, Cynthia. My goal is to provide multiple resources for people to use to better understand job search.

  6. Gabby on February 2, 2012 at 7:50 am

    I thought the personality of individuals is reflect to the resume of a client. Thanks!

    • Julie Walraven on February 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      The personality of the individuals should reflect the resume. You want individuality as well as professionalism in your resume. Content is king on resumes and the problem with most resume instructions in college or high school classrooms is that the books are not written by the career industry but rather textbook writers who don’t take the time to see how much the career industry has changed.

  7. mitch16 on February 2, 2012 at 10:46 am

    If you don’t mind can i have a pattern to make a best and effective resume that good in the eyes of a “Boss”?Thanks.. I will come back.

    • Julie Walraven on February 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      Mitch, have you looked at the resume samples? There are 12 of them for different fields on the site. Of course, your resume should differentiate you from others so you need to only use the samples to get your creative juices flowing and help you think of your own accomplishments and resume stories.

  8. Barb Poole on February 15, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Excellent post, Julie!

    I had a client recently who will graduate this spring. He sent me the resume he had written for a class (A grade) and said, “There’s probably not much to be done with it, as it got a top grade!” Every bullet began with “assisted with” and not one bullet, sentence or phrase had any bit of metrics as to accomplishments.

    He and I had a 90-minute consultation to draw out his stories. I redid the resume. He was amazed and pleased with how his success stories showed ROI for employers. We also pulled out things he had done in his classes that were of course related to his new professional goals, i.e. group leadership, real-world case studies etc.

    Well, he showed it to his professor who literally redlined it up front — and wrote the “corrected” version on back. To take it back to the original. Sigh. Luckily, he had faith in me and could tell the difference between an outline of not much to a true marketing document.

    It is amazing, as Dawn said, that thousands and thousands are invested in education. Yet, when it comes to jumping out of the nest into the real world, the students can fall through the cracks.

    I later found out the professor was using a resume book with samples from 1987. Sigh again.

    I do not lump all professors or career services in the same boat. Most care a great deal and most are overloaded. It just goes to your case in point. Take the A grade with “A” grain of salt.

    • Julie Walraven on February 16, 2012 at 5:28 am

      I’ve had the same experience, Barb. Fortunately, as you say, there are professors, instructors, and career centers who are on the ball. I just did two seminars for a local college at the request of a Business Department instructor. She knew that the information they were getting was off track and wanted me to come and help their students to have the right information.

      • Barb Poole on February 16, 2012 at 7:23 am

        That was wise on her part! I am sure you gave them great value arming them with today’s best practices!

  9. Ramona Dumas on February 17, 2012 at 9:15 am

    My friend asked me “How to escape from resume filter when applying for job?”. I think he should read this article.

    • Julie Walraven on February 17, 2012 at 9:20 am

      Thank you Ramona. Using career marketing and job search blogs is a good way to get correct cutting edge job search advice. You can tell a quality blog and career professional from the resume mills.

      • Claire12 on February 25, 2012 at 12:47 am

        Hi Julie,
        I am looking for a new job, and this several things you share to me in order to create a great set.up of resume can surely bring a huge net to me to beautify well my resume…

        • Julie Walraven on February 25, 2012 at 7:01 am

          Thanks for stopping by, Claire! Hope you find the job you are seeking!

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