Should You Include Your GPA on Your Resume? Work In Sports podcast

Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, VP of Content and Engaged Learning at WorkInSports.com and this is the Work In Sports podcast…

Look this is going to be a stressful week, election week is important in our country and I can’t stress to you enough, young, old, and somewhere in the middle like me, get out and vote. 

When you vote, you shape not just your world today, and next month and next year — decisions like these impact your entire future. 

Democracy works when everyone votes, so get out there. This is not the time to be sitting on the sidelines.

Ok, let’s look at the Stat line, get a picture of our sports industry — 

OK, three stats to help you better understand the health of the sports industry.

On WorkInSports.com the number one job board for the sports industry, we currently feature 17,226 active sports jobs!

1715 new jobs added this week — down a little bit from last week…

But that is still an average of 245 new jobs posted every day…

Now trend analysis — lots of internships posted this past week, which makes sense, this is the time of year you start to see companies post their spring internships. If you are a college student making your plans for spring – check out last week’s podcast, some really good info in there on internship prep.

OK — three fresh jobs on the job board the really caught my eye — 

Job #1 — Associate Manager of Social Marketing for Athleta — now, this is a great example of a category of job that has been growing — retail/lifestyle – you’ve heard me talk about this in the past, but brands like Athleta, Puma, Nike, Adidas are doing quite well right now, and are hiring for a lot of roles. If you are into sports marketing or social media, don’t limit yourself to teams — look to the big brands too!

Job #2 — Sr. Editor, NHL at The Athletic — senior role contributing to comprehensive editorial oversight of our NHL coverage, using data analytics to optimize performance, and partner with stakeholders across the editorial organization and business teams on a range of initiatives. Interesting that it’s not a strictly journalism role, using data to optimize performance — keep that in mind all you journalism types, it takes more than just sports knowledge and writing skills to elevate in today’s sports media.

And job #3 — Athletic Director at the College of Saint Benedict — here’s why this job stood out to me — The College of Saint Benedict is a women’s college with 11 intercollegiate (varsity) teams and 8 competitive club sport teams. The program seeks to reinforce the college mission of preparing women to think critically, lead courageously, and advocate passionately through sport.

I like that mission a lot — sounds like a great stepping stone role for someone who wants a lead role in college athletics.

Alright — that is the stat line!

Ok, before we get into today’s question — I got called out by a fan last week, and i want to address what they brought up. Just to remind everyone, I like it when you call me out, I have zero problems with it. And I have already spoken with this person directly… BUT if they are thinking it, you may be too, so let’s talk about it. 

I’m all for transparency, 

Got an email last week that said 

“Hey Brian, I’ve heard you rant and rave about how all internships should be paid, and that it is unfair to create a system that requires experience ot get jobs, but the only way to get hired is by gaining experience through internships… but no everyone can work for free.

I agree 100% with your sentiment, this fact has bothered me for a long time, I’m glad you’ve given it a platform… BUT, you also work for a site that charges money for people to apply for jobs. How is this any different? I’m not trying to be confrontational, just would like to hear your rationale since generally speaking, I find you to be on the level.”

I’m not mentioning this person’s name because I don’t think they expected or wanted me to, but I am thrilled to address this. Seriously, I am. 

So here is the difference as I see it. 

Organizations, teams, leagues, agencies – that hire interns and don’t pay them are exploiting labor. They are getting value for something they are not paying for. That to me is a major ethical problem. It’s not right for anyone, no matter if they are black, white, Latinx, women, men — working for free is unfair. Full stop.

The second point, if the opportunity to gain knowledge is only provided to those who can afford to work for free, this unjustly separates to talent pool into those who can afford to work for free and those who can’t. That is also unfair. 

On the flip side, our site provides a service, something you couldn’t replicate on your own. There is no way any of you out there could be finding the 300 jobs a day in the sports industry that we do. Or have built relationships with thousands of sports employers, to publish and know the jobs even exist. BUT, if you wanted to, you could try. You could find these jobs, one by one, by searching on your own. You don’t have to pay for our service to learn about sports jobs, you don’t have to buy a premium membership to apply for jobs in the industry… but if you choose to use our system, it can work to your benefit. It is not exclusive, it’s a service, a choice, and an option to make your world and life more efficient. 

For example, you don’t have to pay for a service that delivers your groceries to your door. You could go to the store and do all the work yourself, BUT, anyone has the option to say, hey I think it would save me a ton of time and effort to pay for a delivery, leverage their logistical infrastructure, and get my groceries delivered. 

It’s not like you can’t buy groceries without the service! 

I believe wholeheartedly that all internships should pay at least minimum wage, or else they are being exploitive and elitist – our site on the other hand is an optional service to make your job search more efficient.

I hope that clears up the difference, I don’t want to sound defensive because I totally understand where this person is coming from — but we are running a business, and to give it perspective once again, there are free sports job boards out there, they get money from the employers, which means they ONLY post jobs from people willing to pay them.

What does that mean for you? Well, I’m looking at one of those free job boards right now, one you are probably familiar with, they currently have 725 jobs on their job board. We have over 17,000.

That is our service. That is what we work to accomplish for you as a premium member.

OK, on to today’s sports career-focused questions, this time from Jack in Pittsburgh, 

“Hey Brian, I’m working on my resume and following a ton of your advice and I keep getting hung up on one thing you haven’t discussed… should I include my GPA on my resume? Thanks for your advice!”

Jack, good question, I think sometimes I talk high level about strategies and concepts, trying to give you a broader understanding of concepts with some actionable tips…but sometimes, we need to get in the weeds and specific. 

This is one such example. Should you put your GPA on your resume.

Ok, let’s start with this — if you have been working full-time in the industry for more than 2 years the answer is a flat out NO. Your resume in this instance should be your 2 years of experience, and then a few internships you did in college. Your GPA is no longer relevant, your career-focused work far exceeds this.

One caveat — if you had special awards for your high GPA, like Summa or Magna cum laude — so above a 3.7 — you could probably stretch that out another year or two, and say after 4-5 years experience drop that too. 

Especially if you went to a high profile school — like for instance you graduated Summa Cum Laude from Princeton — I’d likely keep that on my resume the first 4-5 years after graduating, get some extra pizzazz out of that. 

I’d like to state for the record I never had to concern myself with these concepts personally. 

Now, if you are less than 2 years into your career you can absolutely include your GPA on your resume. My suggestion is to tag it just to the right of where you list your school, not on a separate line, right next to the school in your education section. 

Don’t waste too much space on it, so for example I’d have 

University of Delaware, 1996, GPA 3.4

Yes, I graduated in 1996, and yes I had a 3.4. If I went to class a little more, I probably would have done better. But it never once affected my ability to get a job.

Employers are going to hire you based #1 on your experience and #2 their belief you can make a positive impact on their business — that could mean, they hire you based on potential, and a high GPA shows them you have an ability to learn and have some innate curiosity about the world. 

This can help you when you are young in your career and don’t have a ton of valuable experience. After a while, it has less meaning and doesn’t help you at all. 

Now, ask yourself, does your GPA tell a good story or a bad one? And does it raise a red flag if you don’t have it on there?

I wouldn’t worry about this. If you are over a 3.3 I’d consider putting it on, under a 3.0-3.3 possibly, under a 3.0, NO. 

But, to be honest, most people I know who review resumes don’t expect it to be on there. It’s like a pleasant surprise when it is, not an expected inclusion. What I mean by this is, they are looking at your resume, they like your experience, and then see you had a 3.y in college and thing OK, that’s a good total picture. 

The next person, they see their resume like their experience, don’t see the GPA, don’t really think about it too much, and say OK this person is worth calling to learn more about. 

It’s not a deal-breaker –but if it is good it could be a deal enhancer. It could make them feel even more confident in your prospects. 

I’ll tell you this, I never put my GPA on any resume, ever. And i still got hired by SNN right out of college. When I reviewed resumes to hire people, I never once spent a lot of time wondering or thinking about their GPA, as if that was a marker of their value. It’s just another data point and a pretty lackluster one at that. 

One other option — and I think this is way overthinking it, but I’ll share it anyhow. I have seen people share their “Major GPA” as in how they did in just the courses directly related to their major, this seems more contextually relevant to me… your GPA in the courses that matter for this job could in theory be a better indicator of how you will impact the workforce… but it’s not universally known, it’s not a common practice. Sure an employer should be able to figure out what Major GPA means without an explainer…but it’s not a certainty. 

It’s an option, I won’t tell you not to do it… but overall, I wouldn’t stress about the idea of putting your GPA on your resume. 

The general rule, if it’s not over a 3.3 or you’ve been in the industry working for 2+ years… leave it off. 

If it is over 3.3 and you’ve been in the industry less than 2 years, leave it on.

If it’s really high, like 3.7 or higher… you can extend into 4-5 years into your career.

Make sense? Good — 

Seriously, I respect you all immensely. I’m not asking you to vote for anyone in particular, I’m just asking you to vote. Hold the government accountable to the electorate. Get out there and vote, use your given power!

Thanks, everyone — and come on put on the damn mask. I was in Lowe’s yesterday for like 5 minutes picking up a new dryer because ours broke and I had no option… and I saw 5 people defiantly not wearing masks, and staring people down as if they were waiting for a confrontation. 

This is ridiculous – don’t be selfish, protect yourself and others. It does not make you tough, or more patriotic to not wear a mask. It makes you selfish. Period. 

Thanks, everyone — Joan Lynch, one of my all-time favorites is back on the pod on Wednesday dropping some major workforce knowledge! Tune in!

About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the sports media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently, Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, do it.

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