When Should You Include Your GPA on Your Resume?

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Learn more about when to list your GPA on your resume, how to format that information, and other ways you can promote your strengths. 

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Your grade point average (GPA) summarizes how you did in all of your courses, either those you took in high school or those you took in college. A high GPA typically indicates that you did well, which makes including that information on your resume potentially useful—it can be a quick way to suggest your academic abilities, including your comprehension, dedication, and determination. But it’s not always necessary to include your GPA on your resume.

Let’s go over the times you would—and wouldn’t—list your GPA on your resume, how to list that information, and other ways you can promote your strengths.   

When to list your GPA

There are two instances when you should list your GPA on your resume, and they depend heavily on one another: 

  • When you’re a recent graduate who has less than three years of professional experience: Education can augment experience, so when you’re a recent graduate who’s still acquiring professional experience, listing your GPA (when it’s above a certain number) can convey your aptitude to employers. 

  • When your GPA is above 3.5: A high grade point average falls between 3.5 and 4.0 (or the range between B+ and A) and communicates your success.  

Typically, you’d need both scenarios to apply to your situation in order to include your GPA on your resume. For example, even with a strong GPA, you shouldn’t list it if you’ve been out of school for several years and have other experience that can showcase your strengths. 

When to avoid listing your GPA

Similarly, there are certain times when you should avoid listing your GPA.  

  • When it’s been more than three years since you graduated: While there’s no strict rule about the length of time, if you’ve been out of school and working for more than three years, consider leaving your GPA off your resume. It’s better to use that space to discuss your professional experience, responsibilities, and skills. 

  • When your GPA is below 3.5: A GPA below 3.5 isn’t inherently bad, but employers tend to equate a high number with high performance, so it may not end up helping you to list a number below the expected range.  

  • When you’ve graduated with an honors title: Graduating “magna cum laude” or “summa cum laude” means graduating with distinction. It immediately conveys that you’ve done well without needing your GPA to repeat the same information.   

Cumulative GPA vs. major GPA

In college or university, the GPA you earn from your major will be distinct from the GPA you earn for the entirety of your coursework. Some students have a higher major GPA because they did better in those specific courses compared to the general education courses and electives they took to round out their required credits

If both GPAs are strong, you can list them on your resume, noting which is your cumulative GPA and which is your major GPA. However, if your major is higher than your cumulative GPA then you can include that detail and leave off your overall GPA. 

Why should you include your GPA on your resume? 

Education supplements experience. When you’re first starting out as a professional, how well you did in school can help communicate your value and strengths to potential employers, especially if you’ve graduated in a relevant area. For example, a marketing major who graduated with a 3.8 GPA would want to highlight that accomplishment when applying for entry-level marketing coordinator roles

Many students graduate with some amount of experience between internships, part-time jobs, or other work they’ve performed while working toward their education. In that case, when you have a high GPA, continue listing it until you’ve been out of school for three years. As you gain more experience, you can eventually leave your GPA off your resume entirely because you’ll want to use the space to discuss more relevant skills and strengths. 

Learn more: How to Make a Resume for Your First Job

How to format your GPA on your resume

You should include your GPA in the education section of your resume, listing that information as close to your degree as possible. It’s crucial that you include the accurate number rather than adjust your GPA in the hopes that it will garner more attention. Your resume should tell the truth. Whether you include your GPA or not, add any other academic accomplishments you earned, such as honors or awards, into the education section. 

There are many different ways you can format your GPA on your resume, and they ultimately depend on what you prefer. Let’s look at the various options.  

Examples with GPA 

Bachelor of Arts, X University, 2022

Major: Communications (GPA 3.78)

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Bachelor of Arts, Communications (GPA 3.78)

X University, 2022

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Bachelor of Arts, Communications | GPA 3.78

X University, 2022

Awards: Dean's List

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Examples without GPA

Bachelor of Arts in Communications (magna cum laude)

X University, 2022

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Bachelor of Arts, X University, 2022

Major: Communications | Minor: Political science

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Bachelor of Arts, Communications

X University, 2022

Awards: Dean's List   

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Other ways to sell your strengths 

Your GPA is just one piece of information in your professional story. There are other ways to strengthen your resume and attract attention from recruiters. Let’s take a look at three options: 

Resume objective

A resume objective can be a strong addition to your resume when you’re a recent graduate because it outlines what you’re looking for. While you won’t always need to include a resume objective, it can help recruiters understand who you are more immediately than parsing the bullet points of your resume. 

Action words

In describing your experience, use action words to more specifically detail what you’ve done and the results you’ve achieved. More than summarize your responsibilities, try to showcase the impact you’ve had, whether that’s improving a process, completing a project, or spearheading an effort.  

Hobbies and interests

Job skills and technical skills are a significant part of what a potential employer evaluates when considering you for a role. But often companies are looking for people who will be a good culture fit as well. In that case, it can help to outline some of your hobbies and interests so recruiters and hiring managers get a larger sense of who you are, and can better picture whether you’d be a strong addition to their team.  

Learn more: 10 Ways to Enhance Your Resume

Next steps 

Strengthen your resume and skills by earning a Professional Certificate from well-known companies such as Google, IBM, and Meta on Coursera. Develop job-ready skills in lucrative fields like project management, UX design, data science, marketing analytics, and sales, in less than seven months, on average. Bonus, once you’ve earned a certificate, you can include that information on your resume and LinkedIn profile. 

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