6 answers

How do I look appealing to employers without a stellar college GPA?

Asked Austin, Texas

6 answers

CHARLES’s Answer

Updated Reston, Virginia


in your resume speak more about your accomplishment - what you did for the companies you worked for. If you have not worked before and its your first job out of college, here again, give me ore data so that I can work on it. But in every step of the way you have to show how you are an investment and that you can bring ROI to their company. Keep in mind that the only reason you are being employed is to make money for the employer. They cannot take your GPA to the Bank. Only money is accepted at the bank for deposits. Money Talks, GPA walks out the door. If I was giving you one of my power points presentation for resume writings, your next resume would show you the difference. Talk more about what you brought into the companies to increase their profit line and or reduced their cost to operate while reaching their goals. $$$$$$$$ is what employers are looking for. Now there may be some out there who say its not about the money. I say, what will they pay you with, a pat on the back? In the interviews talk $$$$$$$and that's what they want to hear. Talk ROI (Return of Investments) and show them that you can do it. I worked with job seekers who used this approach on their resumes and they got calls for interviews. Remember, the resume is to get you an interview not to get the job. You get the job. So you are the extension of your resume. So talk the $$$$ talk. Contact me by commenting below for more information if you wish additional information. Kind Regards

Katelin’s Answer


It is great that you are thinking ahead about how to put your best foot forward. The job application process is about telling your story 1) who are you and what are you key past experiences 2) why are you excited about this job opportunity and 3) why are you a good candidate for the role. Having well thought out responses to each of these questions may make you more exciting than a candidate with a perfect score who doesn't know their strengths or interests.

Have an answer ready about why your gpa is what it is. When thinking about your college experience, are there things you did to improve your gpa throughout your college career (such as going to writing center or TA for extra assistance, trying new studying techniques, etc.)? Challenges will arise in the workplace so demonstrating how you have overcome past challenges and what you would do differently in the future can demonstrate your initiative and resourcefulness.

I'd recommend adding a cover letter when you apply. This gives you a chance to tell more of your story. You can add additional details about how you overcame challenges, why you are interested in this role/company, and highlight more of your strengths. This extra effort, if well done, will set you apart from many other candidates.

Katelin recommends the following next steps:

  • Draft a cover letter

Roger’s Answer

Updated Walnut Creek, California

Alright, alright, alright...     <span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Haha ! Love this question. And, your question is also a reflection of me. </span>

<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Look, I am not the sharpest tool in the shed. My top SAT score was 840. (Yep, 840 out of 1600.)  I am not book-smart. I am not analytical. I don’t think strategically. I did not take the toughest classes in college. I always looked  (and still do) for the easiest way to do things or the easiest way to get out of doing things that made no sense to me. </span>

<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">But, I was (and still am) highly employable. I have a bigger than life and outgoing personality. I have a can-do attitude. I’m extremely organized and efficient. I have a knack with being able to work well with others at all levels. I love being accountable for all aspects of my job. And, people trust me. </span>

<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">For me, I was able to appeal to employers when I got the interview. My resume was good. But far from stellar or impressive. My best impression is made face-to-face.</span>

<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Depending on your personality traits, you can appeal to employers by just being your authentic self… be true to who you are. </span>

<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">And based on your question, I think you have something that most other people do not… I think you already have an edge by knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are by asking this question. </span>

<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">You’re going to do fine. I got real excited when I saw your question. I think you have a personality that will do well in the workforce.</span>

<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">I see you are from Austin.  Alright, alright, alright. See you on 6</span><sup style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">th</sup><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"> Street or Rainey Street.</span>

GRADES count, but your problem solving skills count in the real world. Practive for an interview. Put your best effort. Be real and charismatic. WOW them with your passion in your work or whatever you say, be sincere. PASSION and drive it home to the interviewer.

Castle’s Answer

Updated San Diego, California

Hi Brittany, I hire many recent college-graduates. First, I recommend that you do not put your GPA on your resume. Highlight any work or volunteer experience that you have, or if you worked on a specific project for school that required skills relevant to the job. I look for people that have relevant experience or who can show how their experience and skills relate to the job opening. If you can show that on your resume then this will help you look more appealing to potential employers. Good luck!

G. Mark’s Answer


Many companies will have a range of GPAs they accept, but most will have other considerations. Your activities outside school say a lot about you and your work ethic. How you live your life in general is a great predictor of how you'll live your life in your career. Companies care about that. References are important. If appropriate, include some work examples. Ask for references to write recommendation letters. There's more to a candidate than just a GPA, and most employers know this. When I'm reviewing a resume, for example, the accomplishments speak louder than a GPA could.

Katie’s Answer

Updated Baltimore, Maryland

I did not have a stellar GPA when I graduated with as a Chemical Engineer. When I got hired for my first job, I asked why I was hired and was told it was on the following--

--My degree--My boss recognized that engineering is not easy and just graduating was an accomplishment.

--My school--I graduated from Georgia Tech, which is considered by some to be a great school.

--My co-op experience--I spent 3 years working for a company that provided me with an opportunity to learn about manufacturing.

My first boss was also wary of new engineers with amazing GPAs because he did not want to deal with attitude, so I think he was looking for someone who would fit well with his team more than he was looking at my GPA. When I hire employees to work for me, team fit is a critical element.

Katie recommends the following next steps:

  • If your GPA is not great, make a list what makes you marketable--work experience, leadership skills, ways of working. You'll want to highlight these on your resume and in interviews.