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How much does college GPA matter when applying for a job?

As an honors college student with a 4.0 GPA, I want to know how much my resume would drop in value if my GPA went down to say a 3.5 or lower. I want to push myself to the hardest I can, but not be too disappointed if I get a B somewhere down the road. #college #professional #career-path #job-search #professors #first-job #resume-writing #evaluating-resumes

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Shira’s Answer

Hi Hannah, Thanks for your question! GPA is just one of many, many factors we look at when reviewing a resume. I'm interested in seeing a picture of who the applicant is overall, which includes academic achievement, but also work or internship experience, extracurriculars, volunteering, personal interests, etc.


GPA is rarely my most important factor, but your GPA will tell a bit of a story about you. A 4.0 GPA is undeniably phenomenal, and it shows to anyone looking at your resume that you are a hard worker and very bright. I think the same would be immediately thought of for someone with a GPA of 3.7 and higher. Below that, especially with a 3.5 or 3.6, you'd be hard pressed to find a company that would exclude you based on GPA alone, but your high intelligence and work ethic might not be immediately assumed based on your GPA (the way it would with a 4.0). Other factors - internships, extracurriculars, etc. - would start to carry more weight.


Also, the value of the GPA depends a lot on the type of job you're hoping to get. In highly competitive roles with many exceptional candidates, GPA might be more important. There are some roles or teams where the GPA doesn't matter much at all. Everything above reflects my own experience when looking at resumes.


But it sounds like you are doing a fantastic job in school and you should not be too disappointed if you "get a B somewhere down the road." As I said, the GPA is only one small part of the story of who you are. Therefore, if the trade-off you're considering is between maintaining a 4.0 but at the expense of doing any extracurriculars/interships, vs. dropping to a 3.5 to give yourself room for significant extracurriculars/ interships, I would suggest you go for the latter.


Best of luck and congrats on your successes so far!

Thank you comment icon Thank you!! Hannah
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Bill’s Answer

Hannah - great question on determining a work / life balance for school work. This is something you'll need to have going forward in your career...work / life balance. While being 100% dedicated to perfection is a good thing, reality is no one is perfect and there is always going to be someone else that's smarter, faster or better than you and that's OK.

While most jobs right out of college have a required minimum GPA to apply that requirement only lasts for that first job. Once you are in a field, no one talks about our reflects back on your GPA. Out the gate getting that first job, GPA is one of many factors that employers look at, but not the only factor. While someone can have a really high GPA, that doesn't mean they are going to be successful in the role over someone with a lesser GPA.

I was never a good student in college and I worked by rear-end off to get the grades I received and trust me, they were nothing to brag about. However, I knew that once I got out of school and got my first job that my desire to succeed and prove myself to others is what would propel me forward. Not to mention, once you get past that first job, no one talks about GPA any more, they talk about what you've accomplished in the current role.

My first job out of college started with an insurance carrier who put us through a 6 month training program to learn the business. As I noted above, being a student wasn't my strong suit, so I had to work hard for 6 months to get through the training program & not fail out to be able to move into the real world as an insurance underwriter. While the class work was not easy for me, it was for many others in the class who were just better students, many of which I know through conversations had significantly higher GPA's than I did. (I wasn't one to brag about my lacking GPA) However, once we moved on to the real world work, this is where I was able to shine...this was now fun and exciting to me where class room work wasn't. There were several of those who excelled in the class room that didn't do so good in the real word aspect. Understanding the philosophies and intricacies of class room work is important, but application to the real world, which isn't black & white, is where it pays off.

My point, don't stress yourself over your GPA. Have a high enough GPA to "get your foot in the door" and to be a candidate for what ever you want to be. From there, excel as being good at your job and having a well balanced work or school / life balance is what matters in the end.

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Devin’s Answer

Hi Hannah! It really depends on where you intend to apply as some industries take this into account differently. If you're headed into a medical field it probably has some relevance to the job.

I work in the tech industry and have never inquired about someones GPA, or where they went to college. I'm more interested in who you are as a person, can you work well in groups, are you a good culture fit for the company, can I see drive, determination and willingness to learn. Everything else... I can teach you and you will learn on the job.

Hope that helps Hannah and good luck ;)
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Alyse’s Answer

Depending on your field of study, some job openings may require a minimum GPA in order to be hired in an entry level position. I personally have never seen a requirement higher than a 3.3. GPA can be important to show employers how good of a student you are, but that is not the only thing they are looking at for every job opening.

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