While doing well in school is important, your GPA should not be the sole thing you focus on to make yourself more attractive to employers. In fact, most recruiters don’t even factor your GPA into their hiring decision. They’re looking for more than just a percentage grade. Recruiters want to know who you are and what you can offer their company. Here are 5 things to focus on that will matter more than your GPA in a post-graduate job search.
- Your Personality.
If you walk into an interview with a 4.0 GPA and the highest marks in your graduating class, but you have a bad attitude: you’re not getting hired. Above anything, your personality and drive matters most to potential employers. When you walk into an interview, let your personality shine. Make eye contact, smile, and be a good communicator. How the interviewer perceives you as a person matters much more than your GPA.
Internships in your industry will prepare you for the working world far more than any class ever will. Do as much as you can to work in your field and learn about what you want to do. Employers look for candidates that already have relevant experience in a similar job role prior to graduating college. A candidate with two or three relevant internships will almost always get the job over an applicant with a 4.0 and no experience.
- Your Network.
You’ve heard it said over and over that finding a job is all about who you know. This is true. Stay in touch with college professors, family friends, and local professionals in your industry. Build your network as quickly as possible. Get in the habit of meeting new people in your industry, nourishing your current relationships, and helping others by making introductions. Join local chapters of professional organizations in your industry. Find Meet Ups and online communities of like-minded peers. Most job opportunities are filled through recommendations.
- A Portfolio.
It’s important to keep samples of your best classwork and internship projects. Many employers want to see tangible proof of your work before hiring you. It’s easier to know how well a person will fit into a position when you can see examples of the person’s work and skills and compare it to others.
- Extracurricular Activities and Leadership Positions.
Participation in extracurricular activities can help you develop the social skills needed in the workplace. Extracurricular activities related to your field of study give you valuable knowledge of (and connections in) your industry. Employers will take note of your extracurricular involvement and be able to tell how it’s made you socially mature and a well-rounded employee. Many employers look for involvement in activities such as debating, campaigning, and volunteer work, which further develop your negotiation, communication, and conflict management skills.
Companies want to hire employees that are natural leaders. Having leadership positions in your extracurricular activities gives you the confidence you need to succeed in the workplace. If you can successfully lead a peer group on campus, those skills are likely to translate to leading a team within the workplace. Your leadership experience on campus builds your problem solving, management, and time management skills. These skills become second nature to a strong leader as they must oversee operational tasks, make budgets, prioritize workloads, and make executive decisions.
So if you find yourself stressing about your less than perfect GPA, stop. Instead focus on, “What can I do for XYZ Company?” and “What makes me stand out from other applicants?” These are the questions that determine what makes you more valuable to a recruiter.
Trying to find the perfect career opportunity? Let the experienced recruiters at BOS Staffing help. For more than 35 years we have helped match candidates just like you to jobs that really suit them. Contact us today and we’ll work together to find just the right match.