Photo of report card to illustrate story about GPA and jobs.

When you are creating our updating your resume, you might wonder whether to list your grade point average (GPA) for each school you attended. After all, you only have a few moments to grab a hiring manager’s attention. Could that perfect 4.0 be your ticket in the door? Or conversely, if you graduated with a C average, are you doomed? Here’s what you should know.

Recent Graduates

If you are recently out of high school or college, you probably don’t have a lot of work experience. Therefore, how successful you were in school can be the only real way an employer can determine what kind of employee you are likely to be. In this situation, showing a great GPA can help you land a job.

But don’t fret if your grades weren’t the best. Nothing says that you have to list your GPA. Instead, focus on the areas in which you excelled. Did you do volunteer work? List it as experience. Were you captain of the cheerleaders or the football team or the debate team or the chess club? Play up your leadership skills. Did you organize a fundraiser or book drive? Stress your planning abilities. Academics are just one part of the equation, so focus on whatever you did best in high school or college.

Experienced Professionals

Once you have a couple of jobs under your belt, your school experiences will no longer matter to most employers. It’s important to list your degrees and certifications, and where you earned them, but employers are far more interested in how you did at your previous jobs. Move the Education section to the bottom of your resume, and put your work experience front and center.

Focus on your accomplishments rather than merely reciting your job description, and tweak your resume for each employer to show what you have to offer that company. Leave off your GPA and any club memberships that aren’t relevant to your career field, or you risk making hiring managers wonder whether you peaked in high school or college.

Your GPA is one of many factors that can help you land a job early in your career, but other accomplishments are equally important. Once you’ve held a couple of jobs, no one is likely to ask or care about your school experiences, because they’ll be far more focused on your work history.

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