Have you always wondered, do employers care about GPA? Find out just how important GPA is to landing a job. Do employers care about your GPA? All your questions answered here!
You’ve just spent the last 4 years (plus or minus) perfecting your professional resume. You’ve completed your course work and credit requirements and, come graduation, you will be free of student life and beginning to develop your career. Because potential employers will make their impression of you upon seconds, it is important to start thinking early about your professional persona and your unique qualifications. Among all these factors, how much do employers care about GPA?
This can vary depending on the field you are entering. Positions in accounting, business, investment banking, and pharmaceuticals, for example, tend to use GPA as a quick way to narrow the search. 3.5 is often a starting point, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your foot in the door with a 3.3. Remember that there are many factors considered during an interview, and that your GPA is just one of them.
What do employers care about grades?
As a recent graduate, employers will evaluate your experience as a student in their search for an employee. You may feel that you earned a low GPA because you were working during your studies. Or, you may have done well academically but feel nervous about your capabilities as a future employee. All of these things should be honestly discussed during the interview. The right opportunity will come along, and it will motivate your continued learning and self-improvement.
Why does GPA matter in college?
1. GPA is a True Quantitative Measure of your Abilities
Your transcript, the list of courses you completed during your college career, is proof that you have learned an important body of material. Employers see a completed degree and an impressive GPA as a sign of diligence and purpose, and the ability to fulfill long-term assignments with independence.
2. GPA is Crucial for your Future Academic Plans
Depending on the type of master’s degree you wish to earn, your undergraduate GPA will be a central focus of the graduate admissions process. Many graduate schools actually have cut-off GPAs for applicants, often a 3.0 or higher, which likely is listed on the website of the program. Because universities understand that the scoring process is not always identical, you may want to speak to an advisor during the application process about converting your score.
3. GPA is not only a Requirement for Employers, but also for Scholarship Opportunities
Many student athletes earn scholarships based on their athletic achievements, though in order to receive the financial aid, a minimum GPA of 2.0 is typically required. Students in general also have access to scholarships based on their academic achievements. Large corporations like Coca-Cola and Walmart, for instance, as well as smaller, private organizations commonly offer scholarships to students who meet their criteria.
How is GPA calculated?
GPA, or grade point average, is calculated through a point system that averages the grade scores from each of your courses. At least in the U.S., each letter grade is typically assigned a numerical value within a 4.0 scale: A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1. At the end of each semester, these grades are then averaged by the number of courses you enrolled in.
Before graduation, you should know the difference between a semester, major, and cumulative GPA. Basically, your semester GPA accounts only for grades earned during a given semester. Your major GPA includes all grades you earned which counted towards your registered major, and your cumulative GPA will account for all grades earned from the start of your enrollment with the university.
Keep in mind that some schools may include a pass/fail option in some courses. This means that if you can tell early on you are not performing to your best abilities, you may have the option to take the grade out of your GPA calculation. Speak with an academic advisor beforehand and be prepared to explain this decision to your future employers.
Tip: Take classes in which you are not only interested but also in areas you believe you will perform well. Taking a leap of confidence early in your college career may reward you in surprising ways later on!
Should you Write Your GPA on Your Resume?
As an approaching or recent graduate, you are probably wondering: Do employers really care about my grades? Does my GPA really matter in life? The important thing to remember is, after all your hard work during your college years, to be proud of your accomplishments. Try not to avoid discussing your GPA even if you are not satisfied with it. Instead, focus on the reasons you believe you could have earned higher.
Many suggest that you should include your GPA on your resume if you have earned a 3.0 or higher. Take pride in your achievements! Don’t be afraid to list a GPA just because you think it is too low. Be as open as you can about all of your college experiences and employers are sure to take notice.
Tip: Include only your major GPA if you are not happy with the overall one, but specify that it does not represent the entire coursework.
Don’t include your GPA if it does not accurately reflect your strongest capabilities. Consider the reasons your GPA might be below the standard of potential employers and in which areas you believe you have compensated. Remember that the interview gives employers a chance to understand you as a person, not just as a student, and that your GPA is only one of the many identifying factors considered.
Include your GPA if you believe it is a strong indicator of your success as a student and your ability to handle the pressure of a given role. A high GPA is typically considered to be between a 3.5 and a 4.0. This type of achievement demonstrates a commitment to excellence, showing employers that you can independently handle complex projects and tasks. In highly competitive industries like finance, technology, investment banking, etc., a high GPA can certainly help you land the interview.
Other Important Criteria to Consider as a Student:
Students who intern during college gain hands-on experience in their areas of interest, develop transferable skills, and show future employers a proven capability to handle complex working environments. Come graduation, many employers even prefer to hire someone already inside the company!
In almost any field you choose to enter after college, your communication skills will be put to the test. Make sure to write a direct and understandable CV and to clearly articulate those achievements during the interview.
Tip: Include writing samples (either academic or volunteer) in your application, even if they are not explicitly required.
Soft Skills and Hard Skills Specific to the Role:
Make sure to thoroughly read through the job description and clearly understand each of the qualifications. Then, think back to your experiences as a student and which ones you believe are the most suitable for the position. And of course, the more genuine the interest, the easier this will be!
Regardless of your GPA, the more transparent you are during the interview the better. As long as what you say matches your resume and social media profiles, employers will have no reason not to trust you in the role! Remember to be honest about your grades, as they may ask for a transcript later in the hiring process. And, they were students once too — they know that every class comes with different levels of difficulty.
Your GPA should not be the focal point of the interview. Come prepared with stories that explain your experiences and what has shaped you as a person. Explaining to employers what you have learned from difficult situations will show that you are a valuable asset to the company’s goals. Experience and confidence can be more powerful than grades, so remember not to be held back by the average when applying for jobs!