Leadership

This is the only time you should include a GPA on your resume 

Faced with an endless stream of college graduates, employers are "inflating" their requirements. 
Getty Images | Photo-Biotic
Faced with an endless stream of college graduates, employers are "inflating" their requirements. 

Your grade point average, or GPA, is a significant measure of your success in high school or college. But after leaving school, it can be difficult to know whether to include your GPA on your resume. In fact, some employers don't even factor in GPA at all.

In a 2013 interview with the New York Times, Google's then senior vice president of people operations Laszlo Bock called GPAs "worthless as a criteria for hiring."

"Google famously used to ask everyone for a transcript, and GPAs and test scores," he explained. "But we don't anymore, unless you're just a few years out of school. We found that they don't predict anything."

Still, many employers tend to regard a strong GPA as a sign that a candidate will be able to handle the pressure of a given role once hired — 67 percent of companies reported that they screen candidates based on GPA, according to a 2013 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. In recent years, organizations have increased their focus on other factors about a candidate, like internships and extracurricular activities, but GPAs can still play a role.

Here's how to know when your GPA is most relevant — and when it's time to retire it.

When to include your GPA

While there's no clear-cut rule that dictates when to include your GPA, most career experts say to only keep it on a resume if it's over 3.5.

"GPA itself is applicable on a resume mostly when the applicant has recently graduated from the program, and only if above 3.5 on a 4.0 scale," executive resume writer Laura Smith-Proulx tells CNBC Make It. "This indicates high achievement."

The reasoning behind this is that recent graduates generally have little-to-no work experience documenting their achievements, work ethic and personal drive. "Academic standing is one indicator of future performance on the job," she says.

Laura Slawson, professional resume writer and owner of resume writing firm The Creative Advantage, tells CNBC Make It that she encourages job seekers to "proudly showcase [their] hard work and GPA of 3.5 and above" — but only if newly entering the job market.

When to remove your GPA

It's not that a 3.0 GPA is bad, but experts point out that it isn't particularly noteworthy, either. In fact, if you include a GPA lower than a 3.0 on your resume you could risk hurting your hiring chances.

You should also remove a GPA from you resume if you have more than five years of professional experience. "If you've been working for five years, unless it's a 4.0, don't bother," advises Elaine Varelas, managing partner at career consulting firm Keystone Partners. Smith-Proulx notes that this "indicator wanes as the candidate proves themselves in the workforce during later years of their career."

In other words, as you acquire additional work experience, your GPA diminishes in importance and becomes less relevant.

Other factors to consider

For new graduates — those who left school within the last three to five years — Slawson suggests adding titles that demonstrate the extent of your academic acumen, such as "Graduated with Honors."

There are also certain academic accolades you can include on your resume when your college years are well behind you, as space permits.

"If a candidate has consistently earned honors, such as Dean's List or membership to an honor society, this can be mentioned on the resume years after the GPA would be relevant," says Smith-Poulx. "Honor societies are sometimes seen as great networking resources or an indicator of leadership."

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