I sometimes worry my resume misleads people, because my school uses non-standard terminology. (Forum members outside the US may find this quaint.)

Here's the education line on my resume:

"Education: [Acme] College, [Springfield], MA. AB in English, magna cum laude. GPA:12.0/14."

That's weird, but that's what I have. It's a four-year bachelor's degree, and I had an average grade of A-.

Every Web-based "resume uploader" I've ever used–including the HR database at my current employer–parses my resume and lists me as having an Associate's Degree. Many such systems reject my GPA outright. If that's what the HR computers do, I worry it's also what the HR people do.

I could write "BA in English, GPA 3.7," but while that's equivalent, it's not accurate. (You wouldn't tell a Navy captain to write "Colonel" on her resume, right?)

I have enough work experience that my education is no longer the brightest star on my resume, but there are firms that only hire college graduates (BA/BS), or only hire people above a certain GPA.

I want my resume to be 100% truthful, but I also want to avoid getting caught in HR filters I should easily pass through. Any thoughts?

jhack's picture

Try this: 

"Education: [Acme] College, [Springfield], MA. Bachelor of Arts in English, magna cum laude."

You don't need to put your GPA on the resume, particularly since you were cum laude.  If your accomplishments (your resume does focus on accomplishments, right?) are solid, you'll get the interview.  In the interview, when they ask, you can answer: "My GPA was 12 on a scale of 14, that's a 3.7...."  

Good luck.  

John Hack

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

You don't need your GPA, and your interest in accuracy comes at the expense of communication.  Your resume should be persuasively truthful...not simply "accurate" if accuracy leads to misunderstandings.

So: What John said.


afmoffa's picture

I've often thought about leaving off my GPA, since I feel it raises more questions than it answers. I appreciate you both weighing in on the topic. I'll tell the computerized forms I got a 3.7 and a BA, and if an interviewer flags it, I'll practice a 20-second answer and move on. I'm confident I can persuade a flesh-and-blood interviewer of my education and honesty, it was just the computers I was worried about. Perhaps overly so.

I asked this question on my school's alumni forum, and the responses were about an even-split between people who were 100% "accurate," as Mark said, and people who wrote "BA in Chemistry, GPA 3.2," with no regrets. As one classmate put it: "If that's the biggest lie on my resume, I think I'm doing fine." Good enough for me.

Thanks again.