BY MIKKIE MILLS
There’s no denying the importance of receiving good grades in school. Prior to graduation, most students worry what their future employers will think about their grades. However, once they’ve found a stable job, many students are surprised to learn that their employers don’t care what grades they received in school.
The Truth About Employers and Grades
The understanding that the best jobs go to students with the highest grades begins in undergraduate and graduate school. Many students feel that if they haven’t achieved a higher than average GPA, they’ll be stuck with a less than average career. However, the truth is a little more multifaceted than that. Read on to understand the connection between good grades and getting a great job.
- Employers Look for Good Grades and Sharp Skills
Yes, it’s a good idea to shoot for the best grades possible, but it’s also important to note the immediate distinction between a degreed applicant and someone without a degree. The grades you receive determine your class standing and overall academic performance, but in most cases, having a degree is enough for employers. The degree is what sets you apart and what many employers use as the standard for their new hires. Your degree will be able to prove to employees that you spent your time learning what you needed to know in order to effectively do your job.
Moreover, your degree speaks to the experience you gained in school, ensuring that you have honed your time management practices, analytical skills, and communication skills. If you find that you are lacking in one or more of these skills, now is your chance to supplement your degree with essential negotiation training. Many schools and community centers offer certifications in these important life skills and are an excellent opportunity for you to bolster your resume.
- Companies Want Their New Hires to be Well-Rounded
The workplace and school are very different environments. While you may have gone above and beyond in school, you’ll soon find that what your employers expect of you is much different than what your former professors expected. It’s true that higher grades point to a students proficiency at taking tests, studying, and completing school-related projects, but this doesn’t hold the same relevance in the working world.
Yes, employers may initially use grades to filter out the right applicants, but it isn’t the only way employers choose their new hires. Many employers realize that the most viable candidate isn’t always someone whose only strength is in achieving high grades. So while it is important to continue to strive for better grades, you should make it a point to take every opportunity to become a more well-rounded individual. Try volunteering your time, traveling, and learning new skills to ensure you are more than a one-dimensional applicant to employers.
- Employers Want Applicants with Work Experience
In addition to focusing on growing your skillset and partaking in extracurricular activities, now is the opportune time to gain real-life experience. Search for internships and work-study programs that you can easily fit into your schedule. Graduates that have on-the-job experience to bolster their resume are more likely to get the jobs they want, without necessarily having to have top-tier grades.
Ideally, you’ll be able to find an internship that is within your major. By putting the lessons you’re learning in the classroom to use in the real world, you’ll quickly get a taste of what life will be like after you graduate. Moreover, working as an intern allows you to network and build connections that you can later use to help find a job after graduation. For many graduates, their college internships do turn into their next career opportunity.
Ultimately, students need to focus on both their grades and their goals for the future. While it’s true that a bad grade here or there won’t prevent you from getting your dream job, it is equally as important for you to stay focused and dedicated to developing into a well-rounded student and future employee. Keep these three things in mind as you continue to work hard in school.
Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She has a passion for advanced learning, reading, and health and fitness. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on education, learning, health, fitness and yoga. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones around or can be found at the local climbing gym or doing yoga.