Education Career Services

October 20, 2009

GPA on Resume? Think Twice…

Question and AnswerOffering support to as many people as possible via multiple mediums, I am an advocate of social networking.  As such, I am on LinkedIn and often respond to questions posted on that site.  I’m easy to find and welcome you to take the first step and invite me to join your network.  After all, we all need a helping hand now and then!

Below is one question (and my response) recently submitted on LinkedIn.  I bring this to you as the question may be pertinent to just about everyone, including students and directors at all levels…

EMPLOYERS: Do you know the difference between cumulative GPA and overall GPA? Does it matter to you which is on the resume?

FYI–Cumulative GPA is the GPA received from the institution the student is currently attending. Overall GPA includes transfer grades in the GPA.

As an employer in the human capital field, co-founder of Education Career Services, author of career textbooks, and as one who has spoken at many employer-based committee functions, I feel confident the vast majority of employers know the difference between cumulative GPA and overall GPA.  Regarding placing the GPA on the resume, much depends upon the circumstance and time the degree was earned.  According to the Professional Resume Writers Association, the National Resume Writers Association, and the Career Management Alliance, the GPA may be placed on the resume under two conditions:

First: The degree earned should be within a two year period.  In other words, If an alumni wants to place his or her GPA on a resume, make sure the degree was completed within the past two years.  The reasoning, based upon the three associations mentioned above, is the degree has become the catalyst for the first job and within two years, the first job should be the catalyst leading into the second progressive position.  Again, it is important to prioritize the candidate’s value and practical experience (in the field) is slightly more advantageous than theoretical knowledge.

Second: The GPA should be greater than a 3.0 (based upon a 4.0 scale) for consideration of inclusion.  Remember, many employers understand the diligence of obtaining a degree and look at the mere completion as an accomplishment.  In many ways, that is the primary attraction of a degree, to “show” the potential employer a candidate’s character and ability to begin and complete a project. 

In the short run, GPA is important but for students not making honors, it is not a show-stopper.  Employers are looking for employees willing to get the job done with a proven track record; ultimately, there is no better starting block than a degree!

If you need further help or would like my guidance in any other capacity, do not hesitate to ask.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110


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