Does a graduate’s GPA really matter?

Shelby Senesac, News Editor

It’s a question that crosses most college students’ minds: Will my graduating GPA affect my chances of getting or not getting the job I apply for?

To put it simply, your GPA might not matter as much as you think it does when it comes to landing a job after college. While a recent graduate with a 4.0 GPA might sound like the ideal candidate, there’s something else that often tops an above-average GPA – experience.

Emily Roth, Assistant Director Bank of England Career Management Center in the UNF Coggin College of Business, explained that employers are looking for “dynamic candidates who have excellent communication, teamwork, leadership, and critical thinking skills.” This is something that can’t fully be achieved by simply having good grades.

“The student who has an average GPA, holds a leadership position, and participated in a summer internship will present as a stronger candidate than a student with a 4.0 that did not participate in experiences outside of the classroom. The key to a successful resume for recent graduates and current students is to focus on articulating your transferable skills in your experience sections,” Roth said.

That’s right, experience gained outside the classroom will set a candidate apart from those with above-average grades received in school. However, some employers are GPA-focused, but less so now than years ago, according to Scott Curry, Senior Director of UNF Career Services.

“CPA firms like Deloitte don’t want a bad professional to mess up an audit, and Engineering like Lockheed need a rocket to fire the first time, etc. I’d say it’s limited to the aspirational and high-brand employers but most or any that look for above and beyond skill sets (engineering, nursing, accounting, etc.),” Curry stated.

Another question that tends to pop into a college graduate’s head: Should I include my GPA on my resume?

Roth said that including GPA on your resume isn’t required. But when applying to a position that has a minimum GPA listed in the description, you should include your GPA in the education section if your GPA meets the requirement. 

“It is worth mentioning that if the company has a minimum GPA listed, candidates selected for hire usually have a GPA that is above the minimum,” Roth said.

Companies with a minimum GPA requirement for candidates will be focused on just that, the candidate’s GPA. But as Curry mentioned, fewer companies are GPA-focused today.

It appears that the experience students gain outside the classroom goes a longer way than their GPA when it comes to landing the job they apply for. However, this ultimately depends on the company itself and what that company is specifically looking for in their new employee.

UNF’s Career Services team is available through the summer and during the academic year to assist students and alumni with resume development.


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