by Sarah Wilkinson, Class of ’17
In Part One of this blog series, we talked about all the reasons GPA may not matter after college, and all the ways it might. The general consensus was, yes GPA matters, but it will matter more to some employers and less to others.
In this article, I’ll focus on damage control if your GPA isn’t as high as you’d hoped.
- Applicants with higher GPAs don’t always get the job. If someone has a 4.0 but had no involvement outside of academia, they’re less likely to get the job than someone with a 3.2 who was class treasurer and played intramural sports.
- One way to bolster a bad GPA is by attending Career Fairs and networking opportunities where you can tell your own story, and hopefully explain away that bad GPA. Maybe you were a late bloomer, or were going through family stuff. You don’t need to get too personal, but these – and your interview – are opportunities to brand yourself as more than a number.
- List your GPA just from your major classes if it’s higher than your overall GPA.
- Work on other aspects of your resume to overcome a low GPA. This means volunteer, take on an extra internship, job shadow, join a club, build a videogame in your free time.
- Be strategic in your job search. Know that a low GPA may bar you from some prestigious companies, but if you do research and find out before you apply how important GPA is to different companies, you’ll be able to figure out where you have the highest chances of getting the job.
Here are some general pro tips for handling GPA in your job search:
- GPAs of 3.0 or better should be listed on your resume.
- Be honest. ⅓ of the time, employers request official transcripts from your college, which means they’ll see if you lied about your GPA – or anything else, for that matter.
- Keep in mind that if you’re going to graduate school or law school, your GPA is definitely important. Gaining admission to grad school isn’t so different from getting into undergrad programs, meaning GPA is a primary factor.
Remember that college is a place to learn, but also a time to have experiences. So strike a balance: study but also go out and explore the town. Become an RA, but also take plenty of time to do something you love. And if you don’t know what you love, now’s the time to find it.