Overcoming a Low GPA

Many employers use GPA as a screening criteria when considering college students and recent graduates for employment.  Setting a minimum GPA is an easy way to reduce the number of applications that must be evaluated to a manageable level. Some organizations have strict requirements (e.g., must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher), whereas others have general guidelines and will accept candidates with lower GPAs when they have other skills or qualities that the employer is seeking.

Overcoming a low GPA is possible, and typically only an issue when seeking an internship, co-op, or full-time employment directly following college.  After one year of full-time employment, GPA can come off of a resume since employers are now focused on work-related performance and accomplishments.  College students and recent alumni with GPAs that are below the requirements set by employers should consider one or more of the following options to improve the likelihood of being considered for positions.  (Note: much of this information will also apply to students with low GPAs who are seeking acceptance in to a graduate school program.)

Include a Secondary GPA

Explain Your Low GPA in Your Cover Letter

Excel in Your Work Experience(s) and Develop Exceptional References

Use Course Projects to Highlight Skills

Seek Positions that Align With Your Strengths

Network to Explain Weaknesses and Emphasize Strengths

Apply for Positions That are Likely to Have Small Applicant Pools

Consider Temporary Positions

The Employment Process Menu


Step 1: Understanding Employers and the College Recruiting Process

    -Maintain a Positive Attitude

Step 2: Determine Career Goals and Skillset

Step 3: Identify Preliminary Target Employers and Industries

Step 4: Develop Effective Marketing Materials

Step 5: Search for Specific Employment and Research Target Companies