In December 2013, The Harvard Crimson reported that the revered university inflates student grades. The Dean of Admissions, Jay M. Harris, admitted that average student grades are inflated and that most grades awarded to students are “A”s. According to Forbes and a survey of more than 200 employers by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 67% of companies said they screened candidates by their GPA. If your GPA is not your strong suit, there are other ways that you can sell yourself to an employer.
- Don’t hide your GPA because employers may ask to see transcripts as part of the screening process. However, highlight other accomplishments on your resume such as a stellar summer internship or a student award. Use quantitative examples of results from your efforts, such as a 20 percent increase in sales for your last employer.
- Your average GPA might be low, but keep a portfolio of your best work from classes and internships. Create a portfolio if you lack one so that you can show employers your talents and creativity.
- Successes or completed projects as a result of hobbies or volunteer work can be more impressive than a GPA. For example, instituting a delivery service for a local food shelter can demonstrate project management skills and initiative that demonstrate your real worth. Jobs, internships, student organizations, and volunteer projects in your industry will carry more weight because they provide practical experience.
- Employers are impressed by someone who can demonstrate the ability to listen and learn. You may have flunked computer studies, but you’ve since learned programming and have entered online coding competitions. Be creative in your approach to your candidacy, especially for progressive firms who will appreciate innovativeness over book smarts.
Consider the role that you aspire to and your appropriateness for that role. The chances are that if your chosen job is your vocation, you have acquired skills and accomplishments towards that vocation. Most importantly, present yourself as a reliable, professional, approachable individual. Ensure that all communications are error free. Presentation details and first impressions can be more effective than a high GPA.
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