Recently, I attended an award ceremony for seniors graduating from the language department with honors. The opening speech was delivered by the very charismatic German professor Sebastian Heiduschke discussing an article he had read enumerating the reasons why GPA doesn’t really matter to employers. You can imagine that this was a little bit of a controversial topic, since every student receiving an award had at least a 3.8 GPA, and had worked hard to make it that way. But as Heiduschke took us on a journey through the facts, it became clear that GPA truly does matter.
Let’s start off where he did, taking a look at the things that employers might look at rather than GPA:
- Knowing how you learn— understanding how you learn is an integral factor in success in education and work environments
- Applying theory to real-life situations— we have spent a lot of time getting a degree, we need to know how to use it too
- Time management— balancing a work schedule with a healthy social life, as well as all the individual parts of your work life
- Relevant Professional Experience— internships you have held, volunteer work in the field, and jobs that can relate to your professional life
- Portfolio Work— don’t tell me that all of the work you have done in school is for nothing, you can take all those big projects that you were so proud of and put them into a portfolio
- The ability to give and receive feedback— a lot of times employers will want to know that you can give input into a situation just as well as you can receive input and reform your projects
- Presentation Skills— not all jobs require this, but being able to present yourself well as well as present in front of others will help you in the interview process at the very least
- Writing Skills— and just general communications skills are important if you are going to be working with/for anybody
- Your Network— the people that will really get you the job are the people that can attest to your qualities as a worker and person, building healthy relationships with people will come in handy
- GPA— finally the employers will look at your GPA as a factor in your prospects as an employee
Heiduschke went on to point out that all of these skills are taught through language classes at OSU, whether they are taken to be a Baccalaureate Core requirement, a minor, or if you are a fully-fledged language major, you will pick up all of these skills in language classes. It just goes to show that language can be a key in our education even if it is not the focal point of our studies.
But, if employers are so interested in all of these before our GPA, why should we even care? Well, the fact of the matter is that all of these points will reflect on your GPA and so if you have a good one, you should flaunt it. But that doesn’t mean that you are out of luck if your grade point is sub-par, you will just have to work hard to get that foot in the door. Remember that it is your job to make yourself look good on your resume, so if you are lacking in one of these ten categories, it’s not the end of the world— just highlight the other categories and be confident in portraying what will make you unique to employers.
We spend a lot of time trying to develop skills that we lack in, but at the end of the day: “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” We don’t get jobs by telling an employer which skills and attributes we don’t have, or what we are working on. We get the job by showing them just how good we are at what we do best.
~Thank you to Sebastian Heiduschke for inspiring this topic, and providing a large amount of input for the post.~
by Richard Thomas, Career Assistant