Should I Put My GPA on My Resume? [Examples of When You Should/Shouldn’t]

Woman holding resume during an interview. She sits across from a man with folded hands.

What’s the rule for putting your GPA on your resume? Should you? Shouldn’t you? 

If a hiring manager is scanning through resumes and sees a 2.0 GPA versus a 4.0 GPA, will they choose to interview the candidate with the higher GPA over the one with the lower GPA?

It should go without saying that if you’ve been out of school for more than about five years you don’t need to include your GPA. But if you’re fresh out of college, you’re probably being told by career services to include it. 

So what’s what? Yes or no? 

Well, the answer, unfortunately, is that it depends, but more often than not you don’t need to include it. 

As a talent acquisition specialist at Anderson Trucking Service (ATS), I review hundreds of resumes each week. I also spent a decade working as the director of career services at a local university. I’ll use my experience in the industry to help you understand which scenarios require you to add your GPA to your resume and which do not. 

In this article, I’ll take you through some specific scenarios where you may or may not want to include your GPA. 

When you finish reading, you’ll be ready to pull up your resume and make adjustments as needed. 

You Shouldn’t Include Your GPA on Your Resume If…

You’ve been out of school for more than three to five years. 

Let’s just start by getting this one out of the way. Listen, no one cares that your GPA was 4.0 in 1997. Employers care far more about your job experience than the fact that you graduated with honors two decades ago (though kudos to you for that 4.0!). The longer you’re out of college, the less and less it matters what your GPA was. 

GPAs have more influence on a hiring manager's decision for graduates right out of college without much industry experience. But as graduates gain more industry experience, GPA is not as influential in a hiring manager’s decision.  

Professional certifications and industry knowledge will generally have more impact on a hiring manager’s decision when a graduate has more experience. (So if you’re reading this 10 years out of college, make sure you go get some certifications relevant to your job.)

You have a ton of work experience. 

Employers want to know you can do the job they’re hiring for. You might have a 3.8 GPA or higher, but if you don’t have the skills to do the job, your stellar GPA won’t get you very far. 

If you have work experience, it’s not needed. If the job you’re applying for requires education details, that information can be submitted on the employment application, so leave it off of the resume.   

Employers want to know you can problem-solve and thrive in their work environment. They measure this by examining your work experience and talking to your references. Work experience and good references go a lot farther than your GPA ever will. 

Related: How many job references do you need?

Your GPA is under 3.5.

Don’t leave a number to define who you are. Yes, a 4.0 is impressive. 3.8 is good, too. A 3.5 is pretty decent. 

But if you’re a hiring manager reviewing resumes, does the person with a 4.0 look more qualified for the position? Not necessarily. Experience, personality, knowledge and skills are all major factors to help determine a candidate’s fit for the job.

You can box yourself in by including your GPA, especially if it’s under 3.5. If you have a 2.0 (a C average), you can make yourself look bad. And if it’s low, don’t lie about it. Just don’t include it.

A+ written and circled in red on a filled in test sheet.

Grades can be extremely subjective and dependent on a person’s experience at the time they attended college. Some people go to college and treat it like a party because that’s where they are in their life. Then they mature and take their profession very seriously. Should their GPA be held against them? No. 

Then, you must consider students that worked full-time while attending college or had to take care of their families. College students can’t always prioritize only their grades while in school. Add to that test anxiety or someone who isn’t book smart and you could have a job candidate that’s very smart but just didn’t do well in school. Just because your GPA isn’t a 4.0, doesn’t mean you aren’t smart or that you don’t deserve an incredible job in your field.

The employer doesn’t ask for it. 

If the employer isn’t asking for it, you don’t need to include it. GPAs can be verbally communicated to your prospective employer during a phone screening or interview if they really want to know what it is. 

If you’re especially proud of your degree and GPA, you can try to slip it into conversation during your interview.

Oftentimes, though, the only one who looks in-depth at your application and resume and sees your GPA is the recruiter. Chances are, the hiring manager will skip right past the education section because they care more about your job experience.

You Should Include Your GPA on Your Resume If…

You don’t have any job experience. 

Again, employers are looking for candidates who can do the job they’re hiring for. If you don’t have any previous job experience or internships that speak to this, you can include your GPA on your resume.

This situation typically applies to job candidates who’re fresh out of college or they’re applying while they’re in college. 

In this situation, you could also consider adding any academic accomplishments you may have. For instance, if you’re applying to be an editorial assistant, recruiters will look favorably on you if they see you volunteered at the campus bookstore and acted as the editor for the English department’s literary journal. 

It’s relevant to the position. 

Whether you include your GPA on your resume might be dependent on the type of position you’re applying for. For instance, if you’re applying to be a research assistant or a teacher, or you’re working in academia, you may need to have a certain GPA to qualify. It could be a requirement for the position. Make sure you include your GPA on your resume in that case.  

It’s a 4.0 or higher. 

If you’ve got it, flaunt it! You definitely do not need to include your GPA on your resume, but you might be especially proud of it. If that’s the case, go ahead and add it on there. It won’t hurt you. 

Yellow sticky not that says resume writing tips.

Craft the Perfect Resume

Whether or not to include your GPA on your resume depends on several factors. Generally, if you have been out of school for more than three to five years, it’s not necessary to include your GPA on your resume. Employers are more interested in your work experience and skills rather than your academic performance from years ago. Additionally, if you have a substantial amount of work experience, your GPA becomes less relevant, as employers prioritize your ability to perform the job over your grades.

Furthermore, if your GPA is below 3.5, it may be better to omit it from your resume. Grades can be subjective and may not accurately reflect your abilities or potential as a candidate. Including a low GPA could potentially box you in and overshadow other strengths you bring to the table.

On the other hand, there are situations where including your GPA can be beneficial. If you lack job experience or are a recent college graduate, including your GPA can demonstrate your academic achievements and potential. Additionally, certain positions or industries may require a specific GPA for qualification, in which case including it becomes necessary.

Ultimately, it's important to consider the specific circumstances and requirements of the job you are applying for. If you’re still not sure what to do, talk to your company recruiter and ask their advice. You can also talk to career services at your college, though most of the time they will recommend you include it.

Remember, your resume should showcase your relevant skills, experience and achievements that make you the best fit for the job.

Check out this article for eight components of a great resume.

Tags: Career Resources

Shannon Templin

Written by Shannon Templin

As a talent acquisition specialist — a position he's held since 2016 — Shannon works, alongside colleagues, to connect job candidates with their best-fit position within ATS. In his role, Shannon enjoys assisting each new candidate toward their career goals and does everything in his power to set each candidate up for long-term professional success.

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