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I have a Masters GPA of "3.499" and many jobs in my field have a requirement of a GPA of "3.5". The online job application portals are just filtering out my resume due to this 0.001 difference. I just wanted to know if it is okay to round up my GPA to 3.5. Will this 0.001 inaccuracy cause any problems in the background checks when I provide my transcripts?

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    "The online job application portals are just filtering out my resume due to this 0.001 difference." - how do you know this is the reason your application is being filtered and not something else? – Brandin May 11 '16 at 8:07
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    If they set a 3.5 cut-off point, it probably means they're really looking for candidates with significantly higher GPAs (3.7+). – RJFalconer May 11 '16 at 10:43
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    Why don't you take another class? – user8365 May 11 '16 at 11:45
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    How many decimal places do they expect? Informally people use one, and I think the transcripts at the University where my wife teaches carry only two. – Andrew Lazarus May 11 '16 at 23:36
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    Okay, the way significant digits work, if the cutoff is a 3.5, then you have it. If the cutoff is 3.50, then you have it. If the cutoff is 3.500, then you don't have it. However, my guess is that if there is a programmed filter, it doesn't at all take that into account, and the cutoff is actually 3.50000000... – David K May 12 '16 at 13:42
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Thats a tricky one. Many of the background check processes are largely automated, and the companys ordering them often only get binary results on the categories back. That means you could well fail an automated background check if you do this.

Even if its just a normal person reading this, they could believe you skirted the application requirements with this, despite being (however slightly) underqualified.

Whats more worth noting though is that many companys put a filter like this on their online application process just to weed out "absolutely directly into the bin" people, and will still not hire below a significantly higher GPA.

  • Do you have an example of this? The only method I know of pulling my undergrad transcript not only involves sending in a fax but also a small charge. – HireThisMarine May 11 '16 at 11:18
  • Im not saying the process of pulling it has to be automated, but the process of processing the information on it may be. Or the process of checking that information against entry information. In the eyes of a Background Check company, 3.4999999 may well be < 3.5 => Check failed. – mag May 11 '16 at 11:24
  • See this is a red flag for me. I wouldn't expect GPA to indicate anything for hiring a post-grad literally right out of college. – CKM May 12 '16 at 16:28
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People generally deal with GPAs in terms of 2 decimal places. Since your GPA rounds up to 3.50, it should be acceptable to use that number. If it comes up in the interview process, be honest about your methodology. I would feel comfortable explaining that I rounded a number in a common manner to display the standard 2 decimal format. This would only come up if they reviewed your transcripts. I personally have never had an employer request my transcripts.

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If your school reports your GPA as 3.49 whenever they send your transcript data to someone, then no, you should not round it up. Finding the discrepancy will be easy, and will likely lead to being weeded out for dishonesty in the next round of checks.

If you have an undergrad GPA of 3.5 or better, you might consider using that instead, unless the masters degree is the explicit requirement.

The best way to get through the automated weed outs is to have someone at the company personally recommend you. How is your personal network? Is it growing? Do you know anybody at the companies where you are applying? If not, try to meet more people. Are there any local gatherings (such as technical meet ups) where folks in your industry get together? A word of caution: Getting to know people for the sole purpose of asking them to help you find work is not nearly as effective as actually getting to know people.

It is tempting to fudge your stats, especially when you're so close to the cutoff. But don't do it.

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I have never put my GPA on my resume ( mine was 3.1 ) and that hasn't stopped me getting interviews from the top companies. I have been on the other side of the table filtering out resumes and the GPA is not the first thing that I see. Projects, role, presentation are the most important things in the resume. I do not understand what these filtering systems achieve. GPA can ( or cannot ) be a measure of intellectual ability but doesn't determine your success rate. So instead of worrying about the GPA, worry about your resume and what you write in the application ( if it is an online application ). That would serve you well.

Saying that, I don't think rounding up 3.49 to 3.50 would be big issue for any of the hiring company. You just have to explain them why you did it in case they ask you.

  • Changing 3.49 to 3.50 is deceptive. Changing 3.499 to 3.50, or 3.49 to 3.5, is rounding. – Ben Voigt May 13 '16 at 15:12
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I think some people would appreciate the simplicity of communicating in a useful manner, rather than a precise manner. Other people will be appalled at trying to dishonestly adjust reality to serve your current interests.

In the long term, if you suspect this to be an issue, then consider raising your GPA. (I know that much of this answer may feel like it would be more appropriate for Academia.StackExchange.com, but the Workplace.StackExchange.com element of this is to simply solve the issue, rather than figuring out how to deal with it another way.) Jeff O's upvoted comment was "Why don't you take another class?" That may be one option. There may be some others. Raising your GPA a tiny amount can be easier than people suspect.

Example #1: I had a class that involved two or three in-person meetings and 8-12 E-Mails. I managed to travel on site and perform the in-person meetings during lunch breaks (from work) which were 1 hour long. Maybe asking nice instructors, and/or department chairs, and/or others.

Example #2: I took a class where attendance wasn't required. I already knew the material well. After 2-3 weeks of boredom, I stopped going and only attended two more sessions (midterm and final). The class improved my GPA.

Example #3: After discussing with instructors, I spent two (or three?) weeks reading a book. I then "challenged" the class. This involved me taking the final of the course. I was asked whether I wanted a letter grade or a Pass/Fail. I chose the letter grade, and got a nice "4.0" (perfect) grade. In terms of time that I had to show up and/or do something, but not including the preparation time (reading a gook), this was definitely the fastest very good thing I've done to one of my college GPAs.

Check with instructors from your department. Check the official policies (e.g., college/university catalog) about what is involved with "challenging" a course. (If you have troubles finding it, ask administration department.) Policies can vary between different schools, and it may be that certain classes cannot be challenged. You will probably need to pay ("tuition"), although the prices might be cheaper than a full course (or not). Challenging a course might, or might not, affect your GPA, so try to find such details in writing. If you're not finding them, make sure to ask about such details, since that is what motivates this anyway.

Check for "online"/"remote"/"distance" courses if you prefer to do this from home. (More and more colleges have been introducing more and more options for such things.) Just make sure to check the important details (like how it affects your the GPA you've already obtained, and checking with the instructor about how heavy the workload is).

If you've already taken all the easy courses in your department, consider another super-easy course. For instance, if you're strong in math, maybe something like MATH097 (pre-algebra) will be easy (although it may be time consuming if there is substantial homework... sometimes instructors can vary for the same course, so try having a conversation with the instructor).

Employers may question why you bothered to take such a course, which they may consider silly for you to take (if you already know the material well). The good news is that there's a good and solid answer to such a question. You can explain that you found a legitimate way to achieve desired results while working within the system. I think most of them will be more impressed than not. You'll also make those pesky computer filters happy.

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The online job application portals are just filtering out my resume due to this 0.001 difference.

No, that's not the reason. Your resume shouldn't even go through HR filtering if you had sent it to the right hiring manager in the first place.

HR doesn't filter out resumes it receives from internal employees for fear that they could be accused or losing resumes, or unfairly rejecting applicants.

So HR only focuses on filtering out resumes that the hiring manager and other internal employees haven't seen yet. This is even true for companies that have a highly automated processes. Most resume databases have such a flag that can be set for internal referrals so a resume doesn't get accidentally buried by the many other resumes

It also helps to write down the actual job number(s), or exact job title(s), you're applying for. All this information, the name of the hiring manager, his department, and his postal address within the company, can be gotten through your own extended 2nd degree linkedin network, or through a few telephone calls to the company if you're polite but persistent in your inquiries.

As a side-note and if it makes you feel any better. You can make sure that the school you went to didn't introduce you a rounding error or a truncation error of their own. So get all the original numbers, and redo all the calculations yourself. And don't be so hard on the school if the final grade they gave you is only an approximation of your final grade.

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I think ethically you have a little plausible wiggle room, as long as you are upfront and honest about it. Put in 3.5 on the website, because most people only expect a single decimal point, and 3.499 definitely rounds up to 3.5.

However, (!) if you do that, I think you are morally bound to tell them in the first interview. Don't wait for them to ask; tell them upfront during the interview. For instance, when they ask if you have any questions, say, "I do, but first, in the spirit of total honesty, I feel like I have to tell you something. On the application it asked for GPA. I rounded up to a single significant digit: 3.5. But in actuality I only have a 3.499. I dont want to mislead you, so if that's a deal breaker, then I want to be upfront with you about it.

If you think you'll chicken out at the end of a good interview, then do it upfront at the beginning. I won't patronize you by pretending everyone will definitely be pressed by this display of honesty -- some yes, some no -- but your integrity will remain intact, and you won't have to wonder if you did the right thing.

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