When it comes to finding the right candidate for a role, hiring managers have a list of priorities. A majority, 86%, say skills top the list, according to a September 2022 TopResume survey of 330 HR professionals, followed by experience (82%) and personality (55%). Only 22% included education.
That being the case, and with so little real estate on your resume to make the case for you as a candidate, should you include elements of your education like your GPA? That depends, experts say.
“If you graduate by the skin of your teeth” and your GPA is pretty low, says Amanda Augustine, career expert at TopResume, “don’t call attention to that.” But, if your GPA was high, say, 3.5 or above, there may be instances where you could include it.
Here’s how experts advise you to use it.
‘What level of career are you in?’
The first thing experts recommend asking yourself is, “What level of career are you in?” says Angelina Darrisaw, career coach and founder and CEO of C-Suite Coach.
Early in your career, before you’ve racked up some good work experience, a high GPA could “be a good indication of you working hard and having a certain level of detail” that could be attractive to a potential employer, says Darrisaw.
“Your resume should always be this curated list of your best selling points,” says Augustine. Before you’ve accrued skills on the job, if your GPA is 3.5 or higher, “it’s one of your selling points,” she says. So feel free to include it.
‘If you’re not fresh out of school, GPA’s gone’
The more time you’ve had in the work world, however, the less relevant your GPA becomes.
“If you’re not fresh out of school,” says Augustine, “GPA’s gone. Where did you graduate? What did you major in?” That’s all hiring managers will want to see as it pertains to your education, she says.
“As you get further along in your career, your work experience tends to become the thing that most employers are looking to focus on,” says Darrisaw. You’ll want to include each title on your resume, along with bullet points that illustrate how much you accomplished in that role.
Depending on how much experience you’ve been able to accrue to demonstrate your skills, Augustine recommends removing that GPA within two to five years of graduating, no matter how high it is.
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