A GPA, abbreviated for Grade Point Average, is a score that represents academic performance.
GPA is calculated by dividing a student’s total grade points by their total number of credits.
There are two types of GPA: Cumulative GPA which is the overall average, and Major GPA which is only calculated with major-specific courses.
A student’s GPA ranges on a scale of 0.0 to 4.0. An ‘F’ grade would be a 0.0 and an ‘A+’ grade would be a 4.0.
Now, when applying for a job, a lot of students actually struggle with the question of whether these GPA scores should indeed figure on their resume or not.
Let’s find out!
Should a GPA be added to a resume?
A GPA should be included only if the applicant is still a college or university student or has recently graduated, has a GPA equal to or greater than 3.5, if the job description has a baseline GPA requirement, or if the job seeker has no other academic achievements. The GPA should be placed under the ‘Education’ section of the resume with the academic awards. Do not round a GPA between 3.5 – 4.0 as they are impressive enough. If rounding a GPA below 3.5, only round to the tenths or hundredths of a decimal point. A Minor GPA can be added in the ‘Education’ section if it is significantly high (3.75 and above) and only if it is relevant to the job position.
The only times to include a GPA
When the job seeker is still a student or has recently graduated
One of the only times when it is necessary to add a GPA to the ‘Education’ section is when the applicant is still in college or university or has graduated within a year or so. This is when recruiters are still interested in the academic performance as it reflects work ethic.
If it has been more than a few years since the job seeker has been out of school and has gained work experience, the recruiters will no longer focus on the education but instead, use it just to get an idea of the seeker’s background.
When the job seeker has a GPA of 3.5 or above
Another time that the GPA should be included is when the GPA is equal to or higher than 3.5. It adds a great accomplishment to the ‘Education’ section, especially if there are no other important achievements there.
If it is 3.0 to 3.4, it may still be added because leaving it out may be assumed that the GPA is below 3.0. It is still better to add other awards instead, such as a Dean’s list, Honor Roll, or Latin Honors Title.
When the GPA is a requirement in the job description
Lastly, if an employer has specified in the job description that a requirement is a specific GPA and higher, then it should definitely be mentioned.
In case the applicant does not have a cumulative GPA that meets the baseline, the Major GPA can be added instead, granted that it is relevant to the job description.
When the job seeker has no other academic achievements
Instead of leaving the ‘Education’ section with only the degree and university mentioned, it can reflect better on the candidate to include the GPA, if it is in the 3.0 to 4.0 range.
Many companies that still appreciate a GPA in the 3.0 to 3.4 range and so if the job seeker has not acquired any other academic awards, adding the GPA instead of leaving that space blank will do the candidate well.
How to put a GPA in the resume
The GPA should be listed underneath the degree and university name in the ‘Education’ section. If the Major GPA is entered, it should be specified.
Bachelor of Business Administration
Brock University, St. Catharine’s, ON | 2018 – 2022
- 3.68 GPA
International Business Management, Bachelor of Commerce
Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts | 2016 – 2019
- Dean’s List (Fall & Winter 2019)
- Major GPA: 3.82
What if the GPA is below 3.0?
If the GPA is from 1.0 to 2.9 it is best to leave it out entirely. This is because it will do more harm than good.
When hiring managers see a low GPA, they automatically assume that the applicant does not have a strong work ethic or dedication and may lack the basic competencies required for the position they are applying to.
Is it acceptable to round the GPA?
Rounding the GPA is fine only in certain circumstances.
To increase the appeal of the GPA, GPA scores less than 3.5 can be rounded since it does not make much of a difference.
Note: a GPA should only be rounded to tenths or hundredths of a decimal point.
Actual GPA: 3.25
Resume GPA: 3.30
Actual GPA: 3.465
Resume GPA: 3.47
It is not recommended to round GPA scores of 3.5 and higher as they are notable enough.
Also, a GPA should never be rounded to 4.0 as recruiters may ask to bring education documentation to the interview and if they see that the GPA is not actually a 4.0, it is a bad reflection on the interviewee.
Should a Minor GPA even be added on the resume?
A Minor GPA should only be added if it is relatively high, 3.75 and above, and if it is relevant to the job description.
McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada | 2016 – 2019
Honors Social Science
- Minor in Marketing (3.92 GPA)
- Honor roll mention (Winter 2018)
In the end, it all comes down to the 4 main times when a GPA is essential and adds significant value to the resume. Otherwise, it is alright to leave it out.
Recruiters and hiring officials only want to see whatever is relevant to the job description and what might add value to the company if the applicant is hired.
If it needs to be added, the best way to include it is to leave it as it is; rounding it is not necessary, especially if applying to internships.
Internship recruiters sometimes ask to see academic certification. In that case, it is the best option to write it as it is shown on the certification.
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