When you’re in college, your grade point average (GPA) can seem like the one and only measure of your success. But once you graduate, how important is it? Should you put it on your resume? Do employers really care what it was? Can a low GPA ruin your chances of getting hired? The answers may surprise you.
First of all, only new grads really need to worry about these issues. Once you have a few years of professional experience, your undergraduate years diminish in importance.
But when you’re starting out, what are the general rules of thumb?
- Only put your GPA on your resume if it was 3.0 or higher.
- If your total GPA was under 3.0, but the GPA in your major was higher, put THAT on your resume.
- Relevant summer jobs or internships will strengthen your resume more than just your high GPA.
(and remember, employers can ask for copies of your transcripts, so be truthful about your GPA!)
Do Employers Really Care?
The answer to that question is good news for just about everybody. A recent Harris poll conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder asked 3,147 hiring managers and HR professionals, and:
- 62% require no minimum GPA
- 31% require a 3.0 or above
- 11% require a 3.5 or above.
Bottom line: A high GPA is remarkable and should be emphasized on your resume. An average GPA isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just not noteworthy. And since your resume should summarize your most noteworthy accomplishments, leave out your average, if it’s average, and focus on your other qualifications.
The realities of the job market
There are other things that employers find equally, or more important than your grades. Here are 5 real-life skills that employers would like to see on your resume:
- Time management. Time management is a vital skill, which you will need in your professional life to meet deadlines, tackle to-do lists and get things done without burning yourself out.
- Relevant professional experience. Hopefully during college you worked at a job or internship, participated in a student organization or volunteered in your field. Relevant, hands-on work in your industry will be a much better indicator for your potential in a real job.
- The ability to give and receive feedback. As an employee and co-worker, you’ll have to give and receive praise and criticism. You’ll also need to know how to give both positive and negative feedback to others, when you collaborate with colleagues.
- Writing skills. Too many students leave college lacking solid writing ability. Which is u unfortunate, because it will matter in everything from reports to pitches to emails.
- Presentation skills. Being able to convey ideas clearly and speak confidently in front of others will be an important part of your professional life.
If you’re still unsure about how your qualifications stack up in the real world, contact Josephine’s Professional Staffing today. We help everyone from new grads to experienced employees find the right position.