Let’s talk about GPAs. After four years of exams, papers, speeches and so on, college graduates are ready to put their hard-earned grade point averages to use in their job hunt. The question is: Will it matter? Cy Wakeman is a human resources consultant and workplace coach based in Iowa. She says that GPAs are valued less these days than in years past. Employers now care more about a candidate’s potential contribution to the company. That’s because a person’s GPA reflects past accomplishments in a controlled environment - it’s not an accurate predictor of success in the real world. Wakeman believes that to thrive in today’s workforce, people who are resilient, confident, and adaptable to change deliver more results than those who have “tested” well. Employers seem to agree.
According to a recent Career Builder survey, 55% of employers said they had no GPA requirement for college-graduate applicants, and only 12% require a GPA higher than a 3.5. Of course, in highly technical fields - such as nursing and accounting - GPAs are still weighted heavily. That’s because jobs in these fields closely mirror the actual college curriculums. So a person’s performance in school is a good indication of their future success. Once you’ve been in the work force for a while and gained experience, Wakeman says your GPA becomes irrelevant. The only things that matter to companies are your skills, attitude and real-world results.
So what if you have a really low GPA? Wakeman says own up to it if an interviewer asks. Use the phrase, “While I didn’t have a stellar GPA, I do bring X, Y and Z to the table.” Also, become more business savvy than other job applicants. Take an internship to get experience, read the top journals and publications in your chosen field, and know the buzzwords. Overall, you want to show the hiring manager that you know what’s important when it comes to success at the company, and that’s much more important to them than what your college transcripts say.