At Parker Dewey, we love connecting college students and recent grads with companies offering short-term, paid, professional projects! We also love when we can help bring these two groups, along with career service professionals, faculty, organizational leaders, recruiters, and hiring managers, together to share knowledge that helps our entire network!
That's why we created our new monthly feature: You Asked, They Answered, to help those looking to launch their career get the inside scoop on all things related to finding the right job after graduation.
Our first question comes from Ajay, an Economics and Psychology major with plans to graduate this summer. Ajay asks:
“How critical is having a 3.0 GPA if that is what the company is looking for? My cumulative GPA is lower but I have a 3.0 in my major courses.”
To answer, we tapped our network of early career and career service professionals. Here's what they had to say:
Barry James, Global Intern Program Manager at OSIsoft explains:
"The 3.0 GPA requirement is just one way a company may reduce the applicant pool. For applicants below 3.0, recruiters are going to look at their work experience and relevant experience sections of the resume. Recruiters are looking to see if there may be a reason for a lower GPA (e.g. working part/full time, student athlete). Recruiters are also looking in the relevant experience section to see what projects the applicants have been working on. The one thing that I would recommend for anyone with a GPA that’s a little low is to get in front of the recruiters at career fairs. This way the applicant can talk about the reasons why their GPA is lower. If there is a legitimate reason and good experience, recruiters may move the applicant forward and explain to the hiring manager the basis for their decision."
Sean Lynott, Senior Campus Recruiter at T-Mobile shares:
“We don’t have a GPA requirement as we find that having one adversely affects low-income and minority students. Instead we look for strong extracurricular activity: student clubs, volunteer work, study abroad, sports, etc.”
Staci Fowler, Director of Employer Services at The George Washington University adds:
"Recruiters typically use GPA as an initial screening of applications. If an employer requires that overall GPA be included on the resume, be honest and include it; and you can always include your major GPA, too. Be sure to list any of your certifications, skills, honors, or awards at the top of the resume. You can also pursue networking with individuals within the company to see if they have an employee referral program and if they’d be willing to submit your resume via that program too. The employee referral program may not be subject to a GPA requirement. Most importantly, be sure that your application materials (cover letter, resumes, references, etc.) thoroughly show that you have the skills, talent, and ability to be an asset to the hiring organization and apply!"
Stan Hickory, Manager of Internships and Workforce Readiness at University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of Business summarizes:
"A grade point average (GPA) is just one of the many filters employers may use to narrow down their search for perspective students to interview for a position. The larger the applicant pool, the more valuable these filters become for an employer. The converse is also true; the smaller the applicant pool, the less the employer will utilize these filters. Employers know that a GPA is not the only factor that will determine if a someone is a good fit for a role. Additional factors employers like to consider are work experience, areas of study, and even connections to people within the industry. The bottom line is, don’t count yourself out if you don’t make the cut with a GPA requirement. You never know the size of the applicant pool and when the employer will start to eliminate these filters to hone in on the right candidate."
TL;DR: While many companies list GPA as a requirement, if you feel strongly that you have the skills to succeed in a role despite not meeting the requirements 100%, it's always in your best interest to apply!