We asked a career expert about the importance of your GPA on your résumé
Résumé season is upon us, who will survive?
There’s two types of students at college, the ones who can maintain a high GPA, social life and eat three meals a day and then there’s students like me who can’t even do one of those things.
Many college students like myself are currently updating or making our résumés to apply to jobs or internships. While it’s finally great to be adults now, we can’t help to worry if employers will throw our resumés to the trash when they see our low GPAs.
According to Undercover Recruiter, a job recruiter spends an average of 3.14 minutes reading a candidate’s resume and generally makes up their mind about the candidate within the first minute.
If you’re a student like me who accomplished more outside the classroom but couldn’t achieve the high GPA that was expected—you’re freaking out about your low GPA and comparing yourself to other classmates.
Luckily, we asked a career expert Alison Green who answers questions daily on Ask a Manager about the importance of our GPA on our resumés.
According to Alison, your GPA matters the most when you’re applying for your first job after college and after that—it won’t even matter.
“In most fields, you’ll never be asked for it again after that. Your GPA stops mattering after you’re out of school and have started your career. There are a couple of exceptions to this, like law, but generally no one will care once you’re working. This is one of those things where being in school warps your perspective on what employers care about.”
While some are able to juggle extra curricular activities and academics simultaneously, there are are others who accomplish more outside of the classroom but are worried that a low GPA will affect them in the long run.
Alison tells The Tab if you have outstanding achievements outside of the classroom, but your GPA is low–you should not be discouraged and just not mention it in your resumé at all.
“Leave your GPA off your resume. Focus on work history and work accomplishments. Extracurriculars don’t really matter unless you have a leadership role where you did real work. What employers want to see are jobs and internships.”
In one of the questions she answered on her website, Alison answered if hiring managers really care about your GPA.
“Once your students have been out of school long enough to have real-world work accomplishments, their GPA will become pretty meaningless.
Its value is as a rough stand-in when they don’t yet have real work experience to point to, in order to demonstrate what they might be capable of. And even then, most employers know that it’s an imperfect gauge; lots of people with high GPAs end up doing mediocre work, and lots of people with unimpressive GPAs end up excelling in their careers. But early in your career when there isn’t much of a track record to look at, some employers will use GPA as a predictor of how well a person is likely to do. But even in those cases, they’re not typically looking for perfect 4.0’s — they’re looking for high 3s.”
While many of us might think academics is important as college students, we should also not forget to accomplish more outside of the classroom.
Alison tells The Tab the most important thing to include in your resume should be your work history, jobs and internships and a track record of achievement in those.
A 4.0 GPA might be something to cool to tell your family, but remember making yourself the full package is more impressive to future employers.