If you’re working on your resume, you may be stumped on whether to include your GPA (grade point average) for the schools you attended. You know that you have just seconds to convince the hiring manager to give your resume a second look, so is GPA the best way to go about it? Like so much in life, the answer is, “it depends.” Here’s what you need to know about jobs and GPAs.
Those who are newly out of college or high school generally don’t have much work experience, so employers need to lean heavily on school achievements to assess recent grads. Documenting a high GPA can show an employer that you have what it takes to succeed.
However, your academic achievements are just one component of your school experience. If your GPA isn’t the best, there’s no rule that you have to list it. It’s fine to focus on your own personal strengths. If you were captain of the chess team or the football team, or homecoming queen or head cheerleader, you clearly have leadership skills. If you spent your time volunteering at an animal shelter or fundraising for a nonprofit, that counts as work experience. Show off the areas in which you excelled.
School becomes far less important to employers once you have had a professional job or two. At this point, drop the Education section to the bottom of your resume and list only your degrees and certifications. You don’t want to give the impression that your best years are already behind you.
Place your work experience front and center. List your accomplishments and skills. Show off what you can do in the workplace, rather than what you did during your school days.
Your GPA is just one small factor that may be able to help employers assess your suitability, and only if you recently graduated. If you don’t have much work experience, focus on whatever puts you in the best light, whether that’s academics or extracurricular activities. As soon as you start your career track, though, put school behind you and focus your resume solely on what you’ve done at your previous jobs.
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