Should I Put My GPA On My Resume? (Where And How To List It)

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 2, 2020
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When it comes to resume writing, there are so many things you have to worry about. Formatting, spelling, word choices, listing out all of your relevant experience, and more. You worry about all this so you can get a job. It may be your dream job or your dream company.

You want your dream job to know how valuable you are. All that you have accomplished you want them to know.

What many fail to realize is that GPA can either send someone out the door or let them in. Many people question if they should list their GPA, how, and where to put it. Below are the answers to all your GPA resume questions.

What Is a GPA exactly?

GPA is your total grade point average and can be found on your school transcript.

You always received grades in school. Grades for tests, for projects, for homework. No matter what it was that you did you received some sort of grade. Those grades reflected your performance on any given assignment.

The grades you received usually fell into various categories:

  • Pass/Fail.

  • A

  • B

  • C

  • D

  • F

These grades come together and produce an average for each year you were in school. By the time senior year came around, you received a final average — your GPA.

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Your GPA reflects not only your total average, it too reflects:

  1. Your work effort

  2. The time you put into school.

  3. Your dedication to your studies.

  4. Your ability to manage time.

  5. How you balance life and scholastic duties.

Some may believe that the GPA is nothing more than a number. That could not be more further from the truth. Your GPA can help you stand-out from others. Or, it can lead you to find a job elsewhere.

GPA not only tells a potential employer what you finished with. It gives them insight into who you are. It lets them know what you are capable of. A good resume highlights your achievements. GPA may be one for you to list.

When Do I Include my GPA?

Putting down your GPA on a resume can offer a huge advantage to you. It can get your foot in the door for an interview. It may even waiver doubts the employer has about you. Or, it can be a major disadvantage. Here are some examples.

Let us say that Drew graduated school top of his class with a solid 4.0 GPA. He was in two organizations for a year or more while working a part-time job. This is something that Drew would want to share with the employer. It not only highlights his GPA, it shows the employer:

  1. He worked during school while maintaining a high GPA.

  2. He took part in extracurricular activities while getting A’s.

  3. He can balance work, school, and fun.

With any job you want, you want to make sure you show off your skills by polishing your resume to make you polished. Put your best foot forward before entering the employer’s office.

Now, let us say on the opposite end of the spectrum, Drew’s GPA is not so great. But it is not terrible.

It is right above the threshold. Drew graduated with a 3.0 GPA. He was captain of the football team. He never worked as an employee, but he did volunteer throughout his high school years.

Some people may think Drew should be hesitant to include his GPA, especially if it is a 3.0 GPA. It is important to note that getting a job is not all about a GPA. It is also about how one presents themselves aside from the resume. Yet, the resume is what employers see first.

In this case Drew:

  1. Was on a team. So he knows how to work with several people at once.

  2. Put in volunteer hours. This shows for Drew, passion beats money.

  3. Maintained an average GPA while juggling several activities at once.

Drew should want to include his 3.0 GPA. It demonstrates his ability to multitask. If your GPA is lower than you would like, highlight the extracurriculars you have done. Note the awards or groups you are a part of. You do not fit the resume, tailor the resume to fit you.

Let us say you have:

  1. Extracurricular activities.

  2. Volunteering experience.

  3. Sports involvement.

  4. Organizational involvement.

  5. Part-time job employment.

  6. Full-time job employment.

  7. Internships

  8. Awards

  9. Memberships

  10. Study-Abroad experience

But you have a 3.0 GPA? Include everything relevant. You are showcasing you. Acknowledge your achievements and experiences. Employers not only care about past grades. They care about their workplace environment and community. They care about what you bring to their table.

How to Put Your GPA On a Resume

If there is one thing to keep in mind it is, to be honest. Some may think it is okay to lie about one’s GPA. It is in fact not. The truth will come out sooner than later. Save yourself from getting fired, and tell the truth up front.

Some companies may ask for your GPA on the job application itself. Others may ask you during the interview. If the company asks you, no matter the method, be honest.

When putting your GPA on a resume, you will want to tailor it to the resume format. Do not put your GPA where it does not fit. For example, do not put your GPA:

  1. On your header.

  2. Below your name.

  3. Underneath your “Skills” section

  4. In any corner of the page.

  5. By itself.

Resumes are like maps for employers. They guide the employer through your history. Not only through your educational history but also your:

  1. Organizational history.

  2. Work history.

  3. Award history.

  4. Skills.

  5. References.

When Not to Include Your GPA

Drew’s GPA in the example above was a 3.0, right above the threshold. If you make a GPA of 2.9 or lower, try not to include it on your resume. Employers may not even bat an eye or waste their time reviewing an applicant after noticing a 1.7 GPA.

For instance, Jane has two years of full-time work experience but has a 1.7 GPA. She was in one organization for a year. She applies for a job at her dream company.

But, Layla has a 3.0 GPA. She has no prior work experience. She volunteers at a shelter every week for the past six months. She is in no organizations on campus. She applies for the same job at the same company that Jane applied to.

You can take a good guess at which candidate the employer interviews. Hint ⸺ it was not Jane.

To get a job, it sometimes boils down to one’s GPA. Be sure to get your GPA up if you still have time. If not, then do not list a low GPA on your resume. Life happens, but most employers may not care to listen to why someone finished with a 1.7 GPA. Be aware of your audience.

Highlight the things you have done in the community or on campus. Include the relevant skills you have to the job description. Remember⸺ make the resume work for you.

Examples On How To Include Your GPA

No matter if you are using a Word document or a Google Document, there are endless options for formatting a resume. There are different fonts, styles, and templates to choose from. Below are some examples showing tips on how to include your GPA on your resume.

Remember, only include your GPA if it is a 3.0 or higher. Your resume is not about your GPA only. Though it can be a deal-breaker or a deal maker for your dream job.

There are several ways to list your GPA on your resume. Here are a few based on a recent college graduate named Connie.

The University of Texas, Austin, TX
Bachelor of Arts in English
GPA 3.8/4.0

This first one demonstrates the grading scale. Some schools can use a 5.0 GPA scale whereas others can use a 4.0 GPA scale. This demonstrates that Connie obtained a 3.8 on a 4.0 GPA scale.

The University of Texas, Austin, TX
Bachelor of Arts in English
GPA: 3.8

This second one does not demonstrate the grading scale. Some people prefer to not include the scale. It is your decision. Here are a few more examples below.

The University of Texas, Austin, TX
Masters of Science in Chemistry
Cum GPA: 3.8

In this example above, the cumulative GPA is listed. The cumulative GPA represents the total average of years in school grade point average.

In college, there tends to be a difference between cumulative GPA and the GPA given by major. For instance:

The University of Texas, Austin, TX
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Cum GPA: 3.5
Major GPA: 3.0

There are different ways to cite your GPA on your resume. Remember to always:

  1. Tell the truth about your GPA.

  2. Include your GPA in the educational history section.

  3. Put your GPA with the right school.

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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