Do employers care about GPA? And, do employers check your GPA? How many times have you asked yourself those two questions?
If you're a soon-to-be college graduate or a recent college graduate, you probably ask yourself that quite a bit. But even if you've been out of school for quite some time, you might still find yourself wondering whether or not your GPA from college still matters — or if it ever really did.
The truth is that some employers care about GPA, and others do not — and they do or don't for a myriad of reasons. So how do you know do employers care about GPA? Should you just scrap the GPA on your resume?
Here is when your GPA is important to prospective employers.
As mentioned, some hiring managers will want to know your college GPA, while others won't even think twice about it — even if it's super impressive and smack dab on the top of your resume.
Here are the times when your GPA will likely be at least somewhat important to hiring managers — and they'll probably want to see it on your resume (especially if it's a good one!).
Your GPA is important when you're still in college.
Your GPA is perhaps the most important when you're still in college for the sole reason that you likely don't have much work experience. If you're applying for a summer internship (especially your first one!), for example, you will want to have something on your resume to suggest to prospective employers that you are able to commit and do the work that's given to you.
If your GPA is high, this will tell prospective employers that you care about your college career — and it may even suggest that you care enough about your college career that you're seeking out this internship to supplement it. If your GPA is not great, however, you might be sending the message that you're just taking an internship for college credit as an "easy" way out, or because you're "supposed to take a summer internship" like everyone else.
You might be wondering, Can I get a job with a 3.0 GPA — or even an internship? First, a 3.0 GPA means that you averaged Bs, which is above average. So yes. But if your GPA is any lower, which would suggest that your GPA isn't great, you might want to omit it entirely. But if you do decide that you still want to include it, you can use this as a way to explain that you're really looking for real-world experience to see if what you've been studying is indeed the path you want to continue to take. Your GPA could, therefore, be a reflection of your wavering interest. You have to be careful not to scare the hiring manager into thinking that you're totally uninterested in the field, however; it needs to be framed as you seeking real experience that you believe will bolster your interest in the field and help your studies.
Your GPA is important when you've just graduated from college.
Just as your GPA is pretty important when you're still in college, your GPA will be pretty important when you've just graduated from college. This is, again, because you likely don't have that much work experience beyond, perhaps, a few internships.
Of course, internships and real-world experience demonstrate a better understanding of the workforce than your GPA ever could, but your GPA (if it's a good one!) can help you show prospective employers that you're interested and perform well in the field.
Again, if your GPA isn't great, you might want to consider omitting it entirely. If you're asked about it, you can share that your internships, in which you excelled, are what really drove your interest in this field — you can simply change the topic of conversation to focus on your strengths instead.
Your GPA is somewhat important when your education is directly related to your career.
Even if you've been out of college for a few years, your GPA may still be important to some employers if it's directly related to your career. If you have a journalism degree but earned a 2.0 GPA in college, this isn't going to reflect well.
That said, if you have a journalism degree and earned a 4.0 GPA in college, and you're stilling chasing your journalism dreams, this suggests that you have a sustained interest in the field and have done well in it before (and, presumably, will continue to do well in it).
Here is when your GPA is not important to prospective employers.
The truth is that most employers care more about real-world experience and how you're going to help them achieve their goals than they do about the school projects you worked on 10 years ago.
Here are times when your GPA is not important to hiring managers.
Your GPA is not important when you've been out of college for years.
If you've been out of college for years, employers don't care about your GPA. What you did when you were in your early 20s studying biology doesn't matter to a hiring manager who is looking to fill a marketing role.
Likewise, if you earned a 4.0 GPA in college but have jumped around every year from job to job, your hiring manager is going to be more concerned with the fact that you can't seem to keep a job (or that you're unreliable and keep leaving jobs), than the fact that you did well in school a few yeas back.
In the same vein, if your GPA was pretty bad in college but you've held impressive managerial roles and have a number of successes under your belt, your hiring manager is going to care more about what you've done in your work experience than what you didn't do in school.
Your GPA is not as important when you're education is not directly related to your career.
Your GPA is not as important when your education isn't tied to your career. For example, if you studied political science but decided to go into engineering with no experience with STEM, your hiring manager won't care nearly as much about how well you did.
So, do engineering employers care about GPA? Maybe. Maybe not. Of course, there is a ton of cross over between subjects, and perhaps your political science background has colored your engineering career in unique and valuable ways. But your employer is certainly going to care more about your engineering work experience than your political science studies.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.