Should I Put My GPA on a Resume to Become More Employable?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated December 2, 2022

Published November 16, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're attending college or university or have graduated recently and are looking for a job, your GPA can be an important metric to use in your applications. If you have a high GPA or other significant academic achievements, including these on your resume can improve your chances of getting hired. Understanding how to apply your GPA and skills you've gained from higher education to job applications can help you find a job that suits your skill set.

In this article, we answer the question "When should I put my GPA on a resume?" and discuss what it means, explain when not to include GPA, and discover how to format academic achievements on a resume with examples.

When should I put my GPA on a resume?

Knowing the answer to the question, "When should I put my GPA on a resume?" can improve the quality of your application. GPA is an initialism for grade point average. It's a number that shows your overall performance level in the classes you complete throughout your education. The scale typically spans from 1 to 4, where the corresponding letter grade for a 4 is A, 3 is B, 2 is C, and 1 is D.

There are specific sets of circumstances in which GPA makes the difference in getting hired, but when it applies, it can improve the quality of your resume significantly. Your grade point average can also reveal other secondary characteristics, such as work ethic and ability to handle stress. Here are a few situations where it would be wise to include GPA on your resume:

When you have a high GPA

If you have a GPA above 3.5, you can benefit from including it on your resume. A high GPA can show employers and recruiters that you're a hard worker who values success and that they can rely on you to apply those same principles and skills to the position they offer. Anything below a 3.5 isn't likely to increase your chances of getting hired. Transcripts often include a term GPA, an overall GPA, and a major GPA, so consider choosing the most relevant version for your application.

When you've recently graduated

If you recently graduated from a program and received your degree, including your GPA can increase your employability. If it's been more than a year or two since you graduated, your GPA is no longer considered an accurate representation of your skill set. The value of a GPA on your resume depreciates over time and typically expires after two to three years. After that, most of the jobs you apply to out of college or university are going to pay more attention to your degree and professional experience.

For example, if you graduated with a Bachelor's in psychology and applied to an HR position, sometimes recruiters have to decide between candidates with the same credentials, which means your GPA can be an important factor in making the final decision.

Related: 12 Recently Graduated Jobs to Consider (With Helpful Tips)

When you're applying for graduate school

Plenty of graduate school programs evaluate potential students in the same way job recruiters might. The classes in graduate school are more advanced and focused, so schools take test scores and GPA into consideration. Graduate schools request interviews in some situations when competitive candidates display a high level of academic success.

Graduate schools judge candidates based on their potential and desire to advance in academia, which means GPA is the most accurate way to determine both concerns. If you're applying for a job at the institution you're enrolled in or completed a degree with previously, your GPA can differentiate you as a candidate. For example, a teacher's assistant application would include GPA on the resume.

When you have limited work experience

Recent graduates are unlikely to have any experience as a professional in their field or degree unless the program has one or more internships or co-op programs included as a third or fourth-year fulfillment. A GPA distinguishes candidates who are applying for entry-level positions at companies looking for recent college or university graduates. For these positions, place recommendations or reference letters from faculty in a cover letter or separate document. Having limited work experience also justifies having extracurricular activities under the education heading, especially if you're in a leadership role.

Related:

  • What to Put in a Resume

  • Writing a Resume With No Experience

  • How to Get a Job After Graduation

When not to include GPA on your resume

If you have an honours title or were on the Dean's list or President's list when you graduated, you don't need to include your GPA on your resume. Honours titles are more likely to field interest in you as a candidate than GPA is in situations where there are other accolades, especially if it's been a while since you've graduated. There is nothing wrong with including GPA alongside academic achievement, but most of the time, having both doesn't have a significant effect. Three years is a good measure of when it's time to remove your GPA from your resume.

Besides graduating with honours, if you were a part of an honour society or an exclusive club with high-achieving members, your GPA isn't necessary. Honour societies are proof that the candidate can apply relevant skills, such as leadership, collaboration, and initiative, to a company role. Cooperation and working well with others are factors that can be difficult to judge for employers without on-site training. The prevalence of an honours society allows employers to determine certain skills that aren't explicit on your resume.

Related: How to List Honours on a Resume (With 2 Examples)

How to include GPA on your resume with tips on formatting

There's more than one way to include GPA on your resume, but it's important to keep formatting consistent. Here are a few things to consider when you decide to put GPA on your resume:

  • Include it in the education section: This section includes the school you're attending, along with the name of the program and relevant academic achievements. This section may also include continuing education, certifications, or applicable credits.

  • Choose the right GPA: Include your major GPA if it's higher than your overall GPA. You can include both if you wish, but it's more strategic to include the higher one if the difference is significant.

  • Format consistently: Write the GPA initialism followed by a colon followed by the number. Keeping this format consistent makes your resume look organized and easy to navigate.

  • Highlight achievements: Place it in parentheses next to your honours title. This is one effective way to format GPA on your resume when you have another academic achievement you wish to highlight.

  • Be honest: Ensure the GPA you provide is accurate and up-to-date. This can reflect well on you as a trustworthy employee if a prospective employer verifies the information on your resume.

  • Decide when GPA is unnecessary: Some achievements are more notable than your GPA, and it's best to prioritize awards or other academic achievements if they're more relevant to the role.

Related:

  • What Is an Average GPA and How Can You Calculate It?

  • How to Write a Resume for Your First Job (With an Example)

  • Your Online Career Coach: Advanced Job Search Tips to Get the Job

Examples of putting your GPA on your resume

These are examples of varying formats for including achievements and GPA on your resume. Use your discretion to determine which of these fits your professional goals and style. You might want to change certain formatting techniques to adjust how you present your qualifications. You can always change the order of achievements, but if you have over one, list them chronologically. The education section for recent graduates can go on the first page of the resume. Depending on the amount of information under this heading, consider organizing it into subsections.

Example with major and overall GPA

Under the education heading, you can create a bulleted list with achievements and GPA. The bulleted list is just one example of what the education section on a resume might look like. If you want to include relevant skills under this heading, organize a short list or transition into a new section just for strengths. For example:

Education

  • Arline University 2020 - present

  • Major GPA 3.7 / Overall GPA 3.6

Example with GPA and honours credit

To list both your GPA and honours designation succinctly, you can list your academic achievements like this:

Education

  • Bachelor of English in psychology, GPA: 3.8

  • Arline University (2015-2019)

  • Member of the English Honours Society

Example with an award credit

To feature your significant awards, you can include a dedicated bullet point like this one:

Education

  • Major in creative writing, minor in philosophy

  • Arline University graduate class of 2020

  • Awards: debate club nationals runner-up 2020, annual poetry prize winner 2019

Example with no GPA, honours, or awards credit

Two or three years after you graduate, you can remove your GPA from your resume. If your GPA is below 3.5, you can also consider omitting it and formatting your education section like this:

Education

  • Arline College

  • Major in office administration (2020 - present)


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