31

I admit i wasn't the best student in college. My years in college were spent working at a job.

How important is it to include my grade point average on a resume? Also, at what point should i stop including it? I'm about 5/6 years removed of college and been working in the field extensively.

  • 3
    US-centric, at least in terminology. Not necessarily a problem, just pointing it out. – Benjol Apr 11 '12 at 7:02
  • Related meta discussion: meta.workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/35/… – Shog9 Apr 11 '12 at 17:36
  • 1
    I review resumes a lot. I care about GPA for recent college graduates. I have no strict cutoff, but a lower GPA candidate needs to have other positive offsets to beat out a high GPA candidate. Once a technical person has had a real job for a year or two I cease to care. (not posted as an answer because this comment duplicates other answers and is just an anecdote.) – Jim In Texas May 7 '12 at 17:33
  • I'd rather hire someone who could get descent grades while working a job than someone with great grades who had to study 24/7 to learn basic information. In the work world, you don't have that much time. – user8365 Mar 19 '15 at 15:56
  • @JeffO-And how do you tell the difference when you have 200 resumes on your desk and have to narrow it down to just a few? I'd rather take a chance hiring someone who has demonstrated they are capable of doing some great things rather than someone who has only demonstrated being decent. But it also depends on the position the candidate is being hired for. – Dunk Mar 19 '15 at 20:30
49

As a hiring manager, I'd suggest not including your GPA unless it was exceptional or the employer specifically asks for it.

As for as how much it matters: If I am reading a resume with no job experience it is almost all I have to go on. Still, I wouldn't include it unless it helps sell you. Many managers won't ask and you don't want to volunteer unsolicited information that hurts your case. Never once have I looked at a resume that omitted a GPA and ruled it out because of that. In fact 90% of the resumes I read don't include them.

If I had concerns I'd just ask you at the interview.

Once you have some job experience on your resume, I don't care anymore. What you did in college is far less important than what you did in a real job similar to the one I am hiring for.

  • +1 on omitting it unless requested (especially if you've been out of school more than 2-3 years or have real work experience). DO list things like Phi Beta Kappa and other honor societies though, if there's room. – voretaq7 Apr 11 '12 at 23:25
  • and, you know, if your GPA was stellar, you might as well put it on too. – bharal Jan 16 '15 at 13:41
  • If you haven't got job experience to go on, wouldn't listing your classes and what you learned in them be a better option for a resume? Or if possible, any certification you might have in various skills? – Zibbobz Mar 19 '15 at 16:15
22

When I taught undergrads how to create their resumes, we spent an entire class period talking about the inclusion of GPA on a resume, and when and why it might be necessary. In short, the students all recognized that as juniors or seniors (3rd or 4th year) preparing for summer internships and first jobs out of school, that sometimes their GPA was all that would set them apart from their peers. In some cases, this GPA would set people apart...poorly...so some suggestions for mitigating this poor overall GPA included:

  • showing GPA in the major field -- especially useful for the international students who made up most of my classes) who were multilingual learners and tended to perform less well in reading and writing intensive general education courses than they did in core courses in Finance, MIS, Engineering and the like.
  • listing specific coursework completed in the major -- some students reported great success delineating the progression and depth of courses completed rather than "3.1/4.0" with no indication of what that B average was in.

But after that discussion, I said that the minute they get that first job, take it off the resume. Once you have one job, any job, in the field in which you are trained or intend to make your career path (at least for the near term), what you did in that job is what will get you in the door to the next one -- not the GPA.

In your specific situation, take it off immediately and never think about it again.

6

Since you have worked in the field extensively, I believe putting your GPA is not needed at all: after all, you have already proven your skills - despite not having been the best student.

Most employers do know that good grades do not translate to actual experience (and in fact can mean the opposite, sometimes).

6

Less and less important as your career experience grows. And while you're new with a short resume, if you weren't a superstar student, talk about what else you did during school - did you work part time, grade papers, tutor, play sports, etc.

4

Generally, GPA is something one would only include on resumes for the first 1 or 2 jobs out of school, and only if it is very good.

There is a dissertation that I think may be relevant: Hiring and inequality in elite professional service firms (by Lauren Rivera). Your university library should be able to obtain a copy. I think it is one of the few sociological studies that actually measures what recruiters (in that tier of company) are actually looking for - as compared to what they say they are looking for. In general, partners and staff at the "elite" service firms look upon a high GPA as a proxy measure for "how meticulous" you are. Someone with a 4.0 would be perceived as "very meticulous" while someone with a 2.5 might be intelligent, might get the job done, but would be perceived as "careless".

  • What's the point of being "meticulous" though. That in a lot of occasions actually translates to some personality disoder and might very well hinder one's normal performance in the job. – xji Mar 19 '15 at 11:00
2

As a student, I was extremely hesitant to ever put my GPA on my resume, even though my cumulative overall GPA was always above a 3.0 and my field-of-study GPA was typically a couple of tenths of a point higher than that. However, if you don't have a work history in your field of study, you might not have anything else that makes you stand out from other peers, especially when everyone has the same summer jobs and the same class projects on their resume.

Once you start having work experience or personal projects that are relevant, there's little need to include it on your resume anymore. These experiences will be what sets you apart from other people applying for the same jobs. I'm not sure exactly how much relevant experience qualified as enough to remove your GPA - that sounds like a personal decision. However, you said that you have 5-6 years of experience, and I think it's safe to say that's enough.

1

For you first job it can be quite important if you want to land a position with a high profile company, but then they are also going to be looking at interns that have worked for them in the past so GPA might not be as significant a factor as one might think.

After you start having companies that you can list on your CV it starts to mean even less and arguably you should drop it from your CV when you add your first "real" job as that is what you will be judged on going forward. Likely the only exception that is somewhat related to the GPA is I would leave any Latin honors received on the CV as it tends to speak more than just a raw number would.

-1

As a candidate, i would always keep GradePoint/UniversityScore in the resume. You never know what is in the mind of recruiter. I don't quite rule out the possibility that some recruiters will find it important.

However, as a recruiter, i personally don't care much. There are times when people don't quite shine in university system but do exceptionally well in the practical outlook of the problems in real world. So in general, grade point becomes least criteria and work experience matters much.

However, when you are a fresher, probably there is no other measure (job experience) is available. So grade point does become the primary (if not ultimate) criteria. So it is most important.

-2

Might just add my 50 cents, especially for current university students.

Actually many recruiters nowadays might have a GPA cut-off line. Especially for big corporations. If you leave it off they might suspect you were hiding something or not meeting the criteria. If there are tons of applicants, then the HR might very well just discard your resume. See this thread http://www.reddit.com/r/engineering/comments/2cnzdh/what_is_a_good_criteria_for_choosing_to_include/ for reference.

  • this post is rather hard to read (wall of text). Would you mind editing it into a better shape? – gnat Mar 19 '15 at 16:14
  • Why so many downvotes besides that it was originally badly formatted? Is this answer really that "low-quality" and useless? I believe in the Reddit post I referred to, the person was talking a real case instead of just pulling it out of thin air. – xji Mar 23 '15 at 7:43
  • Reddit isn't exactly the best source - anyone can post anything there. – MSalters Mar 23 '15 at 14:50
  • @MSalters Reddit is already possibly the highest-quality forum out there. Besides, that post got dozens of upvotes. Well if you say that could still mean nothing then I can't help with it. I'm just posting some info which I think could be useful. – xji Mar 23 '15 at 15:33
  • To say that anyone can post anything there is true. But in general posts with a lot of upvotes are probably not exactly nonsense. – xji Mar 23 '15 at 15:41

protected by Monica Cellio Mar 19 '15 at 21:58

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