Does a High GPA Really Matter?

Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity

Earning an A in a class, or even on an exam, is a great feeling. As college students, A’s make us feel accomplished.  Good grades are great confidence boosters, but not necessarily great resume builders.

The bottom line is that a high GPA is not enough to make us stand out while submitting a resume or participating in job interviews.

Here are a few solutions that will make us stand out and have exceptional resumes:

1. Apply for internships before it’s too late.

The more relevant work experience on your resume, the better. Employers love to see that college students are willing to work part-time or even full-time while in school. Internships make for more dedicated and marketable job applicants, which is priceless in the eyes of employers. Not only will you gain knowledge for a specific industry or job, but you will also learn a lot about yourself. You will learn about what you love and don’t love about a job. These perspectives will also provide you with several conversation points during an interview.

2. Work in more than one industry if you can.

Interning once will usually suffice, but going above and beyond is also something to consider. If you participate in a retail-related internship, try automotive or utilities next time.  Most people who intern choose to do so over the summer, and this allows us the opportunity to intern three or four times prior to graduation. If employers know that you have worked in multiple industries, they will see that you have a diverse working background and have a better sense of what you want from a job position.

3. Become involved on campus or volunteer.

If interning doesn’t fit into your schedule or isn’t your sort of thing, campus involvement and volunteerism are other ways to strengthen your resume. Something to consider is making a long-term commitment to the group or organization in order to gain more experience.  We can make these recurring experiences sound like a job position both on a resume and during an interview. We could place our volunteering on the page and add bullet statements just like we do with relevant work experience. Also consider what field you want to go into, because an employer of a nonprofit organization would be more excited about volunteering and campus involvement than a corporate internship.

4. Study abroad and learn more about yourself.

Studying overseas can teach you so much about another culture, but also about yourself. When you study abroad, there is no pressure; you don’t have to impress anyone and it’s almost like you have a blank slate. I studied overseas as a nervous, timid speaker of French, and I left feeling very confident in my ability to converse with my host family and locals. Studying abroad is difficult in some regards, like leaving family and friends. Although it is challenging, studying overseas is a once in a lifetime opportunity that many people do not take advantage of.  We become cultured and confident through this kind of experience, and these are characteristics you can take to any career.

5. Consider adding a QR code in your resume.

I have a friend who added a QR code to his resume and landed his dream job because of it. His employer scanned the code to watch a video of him explaining why he was the best candidate for the job. His employers were so impressed at his self-confidence, creativity, and passion. We all have different talents that reflect what we want to do after graduation. For example, if you want to earn a position as a journalist, you can use the QR code for a blog you developed or for a similar website. Not only does this show immense creativity, but it also demonstrates that you have a true passion about something pertaining to the job you want. This is also a great alternative for bringing in a portfolio, especially if the company is “green.”

In the end, employers are not hiring a piece of paper; they are hiring a person who shines and is self-confident.

Internships, campus involvement, volunteering, and studying abroad are experiences that teach us so much about ourselves, which in turn makes us grow into more self-confident individuals. Earning good grades can boost our self-confidence, but that does not necessarily lead to being a better person.

The more we can benefit ourselves, the better, both for ourselves and potential employers.

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