Does my GPA matter when I’m applying for jobs
One of the things college graduates sometimes worry about when it comes to the job search is how much their grade point average (GPA) will matter to prospective employers.
If you’ve worked hard but couldn’t keep your GPA high, will you be passed over for job opportunities? If you struggled through school because you were juggling other life responsibilities, but you passed your classes and graduated, will you be penalized?
The short answer is maybe and only in the short term. Your GPA is certainly not going to make or break your career although it can impact your job search in your first years out of college, especially when it comes to securing your very first job. Let’s take a closer look at when your GPA matters during your job search, when it doesn’t, and how you can sell yourself despite a not-so-great GPA.
GPA only really matters for entry-level roles
For the most part, your job history will consist of internships, summer jobs, or be non-existent when you graduate from college, so some employers will use your GPA as a metric to assess your candidacy for entry level roles. That being said, your GPA is rarely a dealbreaker, and it’s unlikely to follow you for very long. Once you start to build up a work history your GPA will quickly start to not matter very much as employers tend to value work experience above all else when assessing job applicants.
Work on selling yourself, not your GPA
Securing a job is all about selling yourself and learning how to tell your story. If you need help marketing yourself, visit the career counselor at your college, submit your resume to a recruiting firm in your area, or reach out to mentors with knowledge of the professional field you want to enter to gather feedback. Feedback can be helpful when it comes to building your resume to best sell yourself and to build your personal story and brand for job interviews.
Don’t let fears about your GPA hold you back as your work on preparing yourself to apply to jobs, either. Always remember that once you get your first job and start demonstrating your talents professionally, your GPA is going to stop mattering so much. With even just a little bit of job experience under your belt and reliable references, future employers are likely going to be much more focused on your resume than your GPA.
Common FAQs about job hunting and your GPA
What if a potential employer requires my transcript and GPA?
Some jobs do require an in-depth look at your college grades, GPA, and accomplishments. If it took you a while to get into the college groove or you faced certain life circumstances that made it harder for you to keep your GPA up, be prepared to tell that story along with supplying your GPA and transcript. Let employers know the obstacles you met, how you overcame them, and how things will be different when you secure a job.
What most employers want to know is that you will work hard, think creatively, and be passionate about the work you’re doing. And it really all comes down to the hiring manager. For some, your GPA will matter, and others won’t care at all (even if they are required by their company to ask for your GPA as a part of the application process).
Should I proactively put my GPA on my resume?
If you have a high GPA, it can only help you to put it on your resume in the early years out of college.
If you aren’t happy with your GPA, it might be best to avoid putting it on your resume. Instead, focus on what you accomplished while in college. Did you receive any awards? Get anything published? Assist in planning events? Participate in community service?
Even better, did you participate in internships while you were in college? If you did, that can be an indicator that you can successfully navigate job responsibilities and even means you might have references. That can be a great sign for potential employers.
Anything that took some extra work and effort to achieve should possibly be highlighted on your resume. Even scholarships and additional grants you received (outside of federal grants) can be worth mentioning.
While it might feel stressful to enter the job market for the first time if you aren’t happy with your college GPA, remember that employers are looking for a range of indicators as to whether you are going to be the right fit for a job.