Answered by Rachael, Hiring Expert at Merck & Co., Inc., on Friday, March 25, 2016
As a University Recruiter, I review hundreds of resumes through applications submitted online, from referrals, but also from potential candidates at career fairs. Since I am typically looking for entry level talent to fill internships or co-op positions, I understand that the applicants may not have an abundance of work experience. As a result, we use the student’s education, relevant courses, extra-curricular activities, leadership roles in organizations, or community service involvement to tell us about the student’s background, drive, and motivation. While I mentioned earlier, there could be hundreds of resumes that recruiters and hiring managers sift through for one position, so as an effort to narrow it down, they often choose to review candidates that have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. If you are at a career fair, and you have a high GPA, be sure to list it clearly on your resume, as this is what recruiters or managers will be looking for. It could definitely keep your resume at the top of their list. However, if you have a lower GPA, you might not want to showcase it on your resume, but instead, you should highlight your work experience, athletic involvement, leadership activities, awards, or other accomplishments. To answer your question, GPA can be important to recruiters, but it is not a deal breaker when making hiring decisions. We take into consideration that in addition to going to school full time, students have robust social lives, families to support, a full time job (in some cases multiple jobs), and also a responsibility to clubs or organizations outside of their studies.