“Does my school GPA really matter? It seems like most companies just want to see that you received a degree, not what your actual grades were.” – Deliah from San Antonio, TX
It’s true that, in most cases, your GPA alone isn’t going to make or break your job prospects. Employers look at a variety of factors, including relevant work experience, skills and educational background, to determine whether an individual is a good fit for the position.
However, your GPA matters:
…if you have a limited job history. Employers want to see that you take your responsibilities seriously and excel at the work assigned to you. If you lack previous work history, your schoolwork is one area they may look at for evidence of this. A good GPA (3.0 or higher) demonstrates that you took ownership of your studies and were committed to doing your best.
…if you want to distinguish yourself from other applicants. Though the economy is slowly improving, you will still be competing against candidates who are equally qualified as you. If you have a strong GPA (3.0 or higher), listing it in the education section of your résumé or application is one opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd.
…if you want to pursue further education. Even though you think you might be finished with school after you graduate, you might decide later in your career to pursue more advanced studies or get a different degree altogether. At some companies, climbing the career ladder to management or leadership positions may require you to hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Since schools request transcripts from previous places you attended, a low GPA could pose a challenge when it comes to advancing your education.
And don’t forget – there are other things that come along with a good GPA. If you apply yourself and do well in school, your instructors will more likely be willing to provide references or recommendations. In college, a strong GPA means you may be admitted to honor societies (such as Phi Beta Kappa), named to the dean’s list, or considered for other awards and recognitions — all things which could enhance your résumé and job prospects.
If you’ve already graduated and have a lower GPA, all is not lost. Check out workplace expert Lindsey Pollack’s blog on ways to overcome a low GPA when searching for a job.