Sunday, June 30, 2019

Should You Include Your GPA on Your Resume?

To add the GPA or not to add it... that is the question. Over the summer there have been many recent graduates applying to jobs and I have reviewed hundreds of resumes while working to fill entry level positions at the company I work for. I understand that when looking at entry level job applications it can be difficult to find ways to make your resume stand out, even during this very "employee friendly" job market (unemployment rates are extremely low across the US, you know).

What Should Be Added to the Resume? 

Awards, honor programs, volunteer experience, etc. can all be very positive attributes. But essentially employers want to know from your resume what knowledge and skills you have that you can bring into the company. Your resume is a first glance at what you might bring to the table, or should I say the office

I notice that many recent graduates will include their GPA alongside degree/education details. I think this can be a great way to brag about yourself on paper. When adding GPA, there is one main thing to ask yourself:

Will my GPA number look average or excellent among others applying to the same position?

Rule of Thumb 

Here's a rule of thumb to follow. When your GPA is above a 3.4 you should be sure to highlight that and include it to your resume. Unfortunately, too many students will include GPA even when it is  at or below a 3.0. Please understand me, a 3.0 GPA is not a bad things, in fact it shows that a student is in good standing with their college or university. However, keep in mind that that GPA number is typically the minimum required for most internship and fellowship programs. Very large companies often require a rate of 3.2. 

A 3.2 or 3.0 may not make you stand out much, however, a 4.0 shows a company that a student is well above average and has outshined other students academically. In an employer's mind, if the student has done extremely well during their school program, they will also do well in the work environment. 

What If Your GPA is Less Than a 3.2? 

Recently I have even seen students list more average and even sub par GPA numbers on their resume. Just for the record, GPA's of 2.4, 2.8 and 2.9 should absolutely not be included onto your resume unless for some reason the GPA is required. Now, I have nothing against those with lower GPA's, in fact, my overall GPA was only at a 3.2 when I graduated undergrad. Because of this, I refrained from listing my GPA on my resume and job applications. The few times I was asked about my GPA I made sure to describe some factors that contributed to my GPA. I mentioned a few difficult classes (Economics and Survey of Calculus to be exact) where I had some trouble and seeked out tutoring to gain a "C" passing grade. I also would sometimes talk about my personal situation along with my work life. This was very helpful and gave employers a better idea of me as a well rounded individual that was able to achieve balance while working through academic challenges. 

Trust me, if you have a lower GPA, it is very important to be ready to discuss it and be able to turn it into a positive. So Jess, if I have my story prepared can't I go ahead and add my GPA to my resume? 

Answer: Absolutely not. Here's why. When you offer the GPA on the resume upfront, there is no chance for you to provide any context outside of a cover letter (which may not be reviewed). Overall, the likelihood of you moving forward in the recruitment process is lessened. I don't want that to happen. And I know you don't either.  

For questions or information on other topics you can reach out to me directly at or find me on LinkedIn. You can also check out my newly created YouTube page for short videos where I provide advice to job seekers based on my experience as a corporate recruiter. 

Happy Searching! 

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