Job Advice for New College Grads

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Resume Tips – How to deal with a low GPA

Posted by James M on November 6, 2008

One of the biggest fears many graduating seniors express when attempting to find a job is the all important GPA.  And there is no denying that your GPA is one of the top factors influencing recruiters during their selection process.  As well it should be, it is a strong indicator of the amount you have learned in college and the amount of work you put in.

That being said, your GPA is not the only factor affecting your candidacy and there are plenty of examples of people who have lower than desired GPAs who get great jobs by supplementing their grades with other experience and taking the time to market themselves well.  So how do you put a positive spin on a low GPA?

Well there is a little trick and today I’d like to share it with you.  But first I’d like to digress briefly.  The first piece of advice regarding your GPA is to actually put it on your resume.  I can’t tell you how many resumes I’ve seen without a GPA listed. With few exceptions (such as a school grade no disclosure policy) I think it is a real mistake not to list your GPA under the Education section of your resume.  It is extraordinarily unlikely that you will make it to the offer stage with your target company without them finding out your GPA at some point along the way.  They may ask during the career fair, during one of the interview rounds, or they may ask for your transcripts as proof of graduation before you are hired.  So why not just put it out there so you can start to have the discussion about how you are more than your grades?

Ok, on to the trick I mentioned above, which is to actually put down two different GPAs on your resume.  Let me explain.  The first will be your cumulative GPA for all of college up to that point.  But it is really the second GPA that does the work for you.  This second GPA should be a logical grouping of classes that has a calculated GPA higher than your cumulative.  For example, it may be all of your senior year classes.  It may be upper division classes in your major.  It might be your major GPA itself if it is significantly higher than your cumulative.  Or it may be the GPA of a specialization within your major that is often part of the curriculum at many schools.

So let’s look at some real world examples of groupings you might use as they would be listed on your resume:

Senior-level Accounting GPA
Mechanical Engineering Major GPA
Comparative Literature Specialization GPA

So after choosing a grouping the process becomes pretty easy.  You just get a copy of your transcripts and calculate the GPA of the grouping you choose.  If you don’t know how the calculation works at your school, you can often find it in the academic handbook.  So after you have decided on a grouping and done the calculation you might get a line under your Education that looks like this:

Cumulative GPA: 2.54; 400-level Accounting class GPA: 3.18

So finally let’s put it together and see what your Education section might look like on your resume:

Education
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
University of Washington, Seattle, WA
December 2007
Grade Point Average: 3.05
Senior level engineering class GPA: 3.44

What you are doing is really two-fold.  First, you are giving a visual indication of solid academic performance.  And man whenever I see this dual GPA method I just love the way it looks!

More importantly you are indicating to the employer that you have a deep understanding of some target subject or set of classes, in the example above, in senior level engineering coursework.  This also shows the recruiter that your academic performance got better with time and that you were able to hunker down towards the end of college.  For that reason, my advice would be to try and create a grouping from the second half of college.   Choosing from the later half of your college career demonstrates improvement with time and involves more relevant classes that have occurred more recently.

For an additional tip on dealing with a low GPA check out my post entitled: “Resume Tips – Discussing Number of Hours Worked.”

Well I hope you find this little trick useful.  Most students I share this with get really excited about the chance to show a positive side of themselves and this trick really does help.  If you have any questions about this post or need tailored advice to your specific job search, including free resume consulting, please e-mail me at collegegraduatejobs@gmail.com.

Advertisements

24 Responses to “Resume Tips – How to deal with a low GPA”

  1. […] Resume Tips – How to deal with a low GPA […]

  2. […] THREE included a GPA, and they were all above a 3.0.  Having said that, I ran across an article on how to deal with it if you have a low GPA that might be worth considering:  along with your low (-ish) GPA, include with it the (higher) […]

  3. […] THREE included a GPA, and they were all above a 3.0.  Having said that, I ran across an article on how to deal with it if you have a low GPA that might be worth considering:  along with your low (-ish) GPA, include with it the (higher) […]

  4. […] THREE included a GPA, and they were all above a 3.0.  Having told that, I ran across an article on how to deal with it if you have a low GPA that might be worth considering:  along with your low (-ish) GPA, include with it the (higher) […]

  5. […] 3 included a GPA, and they were all above a 3.0.  Having said that, I ran across an article on how to deal with it if you have a low GPA that might be worth considering:  along with your low (-ish) GPA, include with it the (higher) […]

  6. […] included a GPA, and they were all above a THREE.0.  Having said that, I ran across an article on how to deal with it if you have a low GPA that might be worth considering:  along with your low (-ish) GPA, include with it the (higher) […]

  7. […] included a GPA, and they were all above a THREE.0.  Having told that, I ran across an article on how to deal with it if you have a low GPA that might be worth considering:  along with your low (-ish) GPA, include with it the (higher) […]

  8. […] 3 included a GPA, and they were all above a THREE.0.  Having told that, I ran across an article on how to deal with it if you have a low GPA that might be worth considering:  along with your low (-ish) GPA, include with it the (higher) […]

  9. […] THREE included a GPA, and they were all above a 3.0.  Having said that, I ran across an article on how to deal with it if you have a low GPA that might be worth considering:  along with your low (-ish) GPA, include with it the (higher) […]

  10. […] 3 included a GPA, and they were all above a 3.0.  Having said that, I ran across an article on how to deal with it if you have a low GPA that might be worth considering:  along with your low (-ish) GPA, include with it the (higher) […]

  11. […] 3 included a GPA, and they were all above a THREE.0.  Having said that, I ran across an article on how to deal with it if you have a low GPA that might be worth considering:  along with your low (-ish) GPA, include with it the (higher) […]

  12. […] 3 included a GPA, and they were all above a THREE.0.  Having said that, I ran across an article on how to deal with it if you have a low GPA that might be worth considering:  along with your low (-ish) GPA, include with it the (higher) […]

  13. […] 3 included a GPA, and they were all above a 3.0.  Having said that, I ran across an article on how to deal with it if you have a low GPA that might be worth considering:  along with your low (-ish) GPA, include with it the (higher) […]

  14. […] 3 included a GPA, and they were all above a THREE.0.  Having told that, I ran across an article on how to deal with it if you have a low GPA that might be worth considering:  along with your low (-ish) GPA, include with it the (higher) […]

  15. […] Resume Tips: How to deal with a low GPA: If you didn’t do as well as you’d have liked in college, learn how to make up for it on your resume here. […]

  16. […] the world of resumes, shorter is often better, learn why going over a page can sometimes help you.Resume Tips: How to deal with a low GPA: If you didn’t do as well as you’d have liked in college, learn how to make up for it […]

  17. […] Resume Tips: How to deal with a low GPA: If you didn’t do as well as you’d have liked in college, learn how to make up for it on your resume here. […]

  18. […] rockwell sonicrafter on Should I list a low GPA on my…Guest Feature: Kathe… on Resume Tips – How to dea…Guest Feature: Kathe… on Resume Tips – How to dea…100 Inspiring & … […]

  19. jobs said

    Excellent advice James!

  20. ellie said

    This is excellent advice. I thought my future was looking bleak until I came across this article. Thank you!

  21. saying about life…

    […]Resume Tips – How to deal with a low GPA « Job Advice for New College Grads[…]…

  22. Rickey said

    Hey there, You’ve done an excellent job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.

  23. I’ve been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth
    enough for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much
    more useful than ever before.

  24. […] Resume Tips – How to deal with a low GPA « Job Advice … – Nov 06, 2008 · One of the biggest fears many graduating seniors express when attempting to find a job is the all important GPA. And there is no denying that your …… […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: