How to present a low GPA on a resume?

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Anonymous User
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How to present a low GPA on a resume?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:39 pm

Here's the deal, after my first year my GPA was under a 3.0 (about a 2.7)
The first semester of my second year, I did much better (GPA for that semester was a 3.3)

Cumulatively, my GPA is still under a 3.0 and the conventional wisdom is to leave GPA off the resume if that's the case.

Now that I've got my new grades, does anyone have a perspective on whether it could be more beneficial to say something like: "Second Year GPA: 3.3, Cumulative GPA: 2.8" - or should I just keep leaving it off until I break a 3.0?

Clearly I'm not applying for large law firms or anything, but almost everything that is an actual internship (as opposed to me calling small firms or other places to create a summer position) wants a copy of the transcript, and my thought was that this could be a way to indicate my upward trend rather than have someone glance at my transcript, see my low first semester grades, glance at my cumulative GPA, and immediately throw my documents into the trash.

Another potential soft benefit, would be that I could go back to putting my sterling (3.9) undergrad GPA back on my resume, rather than having it off in uniformity with not having GPAs listed on my resume.

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Re: How to present a low GPA on a resume?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:31 pm

120 views and no reply? Y'all are lucky you probably don't have to think about this kind of stuff.

It's lonely in the bottom 50% of the class!

Aqualibrium
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Re: How to present a low GPA on a resume?

Postby Aqualibrium » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:06 pm

I'd leave it off the resume, and use some clever formating to indicate upward trend on the transcript.

My suggestion:

Did your grades go up from fall 1L to spring 1L? If so, list them separately. If not, I'd list all your 1L classes together with your grades in each course listed from highest to lowest. Put your cumulative gpa and approximate rank at the bottom of that list in bold font.

Then I'd do a separate heading for fall 2010. List grades from highest to lowest again. Then put your semester gpa in bold, followed by your new cumulative gpa and approximate rank in bold font.

Also, make sure you indicate the curve somewhere on your transcript.

This way, they see the good stuff first, lump the entire 1L year together as a learning experience, and can easily skim and see that you have an upward trend (because the eyes will most easily be drawn to the bolded portions).

Renzo
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Re: How to present a low GPA on a resume?

Postby Renzo » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:17 pm

Leave it off the resume, send the transcripts when asked. Your resume should only and ever present positive info about you, and your GPA isn't. When you send transcripts, the person looking at them gets the whole picture, and can draw any conclusions they would like re. upward trends, etc.

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vamedic03
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Re: How to present a low GPA on a resume?

Postby vamedic03 » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:20 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:I'd leave it off the resume, and use some clever formating to indicate upward trend on the transcript.

My suggestion:

Did your grades go up from fall 1L to spring 1L? If so, list them separately. If not, I'd list all your 1L classes together with your grades in each course listed from highest to lowest. Put your cumulative gpa and approximate rank at the bottom of that list in bold font.

Then I'd do a separate heading for fall 2010. List grades from highest to lowest again. Then put your semester gpa in bold, followed by your new cumulative gpa and approximate rank in bold font.

Also, make sure you indicate the curve somewhere on your transcript.

This way, they see the good stuff first, lump the entire 1L year together as a learning experience, and can easily skim and see that you have an upward trend (because the eyes will most easily be drawn to the bolded portions).


Huh? Transcripts should be in the format issued by the school.

Renzo
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Re: How to present a low GPA on a resume?

Postby Renzo » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:25 pm

vamedic03 wrote:
Huh? Transcripts should be in the format issued by the school.

Oh, yeah. Whatever you do, don't try and "format" your transcript. That's crazy.

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Re: How to present a low GPA on a resume?

Postby Aqualibrium » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:36 pm

vamedic03 wrote:
Aqualibrium wrote:I'd leave it off the resume, and use some clever formating to indicate upward trend on the transcript.

My suggestion:

Did your grades go up from fall 1L to spring 1L? If so, list them separately. If not, I'd list all your 1L classes together with your grades in each course listed from highest to lowest. Put your cumulative gpa and approximate rank at the bottom of that list in bold font.

Then I'd do a separate heading for fall 2010. List grades from highest to lowest again. Then put your semester gpa in bold, followed by your new cumulative gpa and approximate rank in bold font.

Also, make sure you indicate the curve somewhere on your transcript.

This way, they see the good stuff first, lump the entire 1L year together as a learning experience, and can easily skim and see that you have an upward trend (because the eyes will most easily be drawn to the bolded portions).


Huh? Transcripts should be in the format issued by the school.



1. No one has ever asked me for an official transcript.

2. The "official format" my CSO recommends for sending unofficial transcripts, which is what every firm I've ever seen asks for, is to take a screen shot of the website our grades are posted on. That's tacky.

3. I got the idea to format my transcripts that way from a job fair I attended that had a required template. I made my own tweaks to the format to emphasize the positives and deflect attention from the negatives. I've had a lot of success with it formatted that way, and the very first thing anyone who sees my transcript for the first time comments on is the upward trend. I personally believe that is because my transcript is clear and easy to read, and the upward trend is emphasized. I'm sure they could reach the same conclusion by slogging through an official transcript or by looking at my tacky screenshot with a bunch of irrelevant numbers all over the place, but I like to think this get the job done better. I've consulted with quite a few recruiters for different firms and agencies on resumes and the like, and the thing they always say is that the ones that are skimable and put the good stuff up front win. So call me crazy, but it looks good, and it works.

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Re: How to present a low GPA on a resume?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:41 pm

Alright, I'll leave it off the resume ('was kind of leaning this direction anyway)

As for my grades, it's less of a dramatic curve than it is a subtle upward trend.

First semester was:
C-, B-, B

Second semester was:
B-, B-, B, B+

Third Semester was:
B, B+, B+

The C- REALLY sunk my overall GPA, and I didn't have any As to help normalize things. Unfortunately, the way my transcript formats out when I get an unofficial one for download, the first page of my transcript lists only the C- and my cumulative gpa, then you have to turn the pages to see the rest (which probably won't happen if people are looking to filter through 30-80-200 applications). My transcript is a couple of pages long, I was thinking of "accidentally" putting the page with my third sem grades on the front of anything I send out, followed by everything else (each page lists my poor cumulative gpa anyway, but at least they see I'm not a C student overall and they get to see some refreshing B+s).


Also, make sure you indicate the curve somewhere on your transcript.


What does this mean? Writing a little note like "please notice the upward trend" seems a little clunky.

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Re: How to present a low GPA on a resume?

Postby Aqualibrium » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Unfortunately, the way my transcript formats out when I get an unofficial one for download, the first page of my transcript lists only the C- and my cumulative gpa, then you have to turn the pages to see the rest (which probably won't happen if people are looking to filter through 30-80-200 applications). My transcript is a couple of pages long.




Exactly the reason why you say fuck the CSO and do what you need to do to market yourself. That multiple page bs is always going to be slanted in the favor of the kids that have excellent grades. The kids with poor grades have to hope someone reads through all that crap to get to the good stuff.

Maybe you shouldn't listen to me...I dunno. In retrospect, I did quite a few unconventional things in the job hunt. One of the things that helped me the most IMO was this: If I wanted to interview at a firm that didn't traditionally recruit at my school, I made a chart that showed the class of 2012's entering statistics and US News Rank at each of the schools they recruited from and my own school. When you present that data in a readable format, it was very often the case that the students in my class statistically outperformed the students at some of (and in limited cases all of) the schools those firms recruited at. I got interviews/callbacks/offers from places that had never ever hired a student from my school. In one callback, the partner didn't know where my school was located...I got the offer.

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Re: How to present a low GPA on a resume?

Postby Renzo » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:53 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Unfortunately, the way my transcript formats out when I get an unofficial one for download, the first page of my transcript lists only the C- and my cumulative gpa, then you have to turn the pages to see the rest (which probably won't happen if people are looking to filter through 30-80-200 applications). My transcript is a couple of pages long.




Exactly the reason why you say fuck the CSO and do what you need to do to market yourself. That multiple page bs is always going to be slanted in the favor of the kids that have excellent grades. The kids with poor grades have to hope someone reads through all that crap to get to the good stuff.

Maybe you shouldn't listen to me...I dunno. In retrospect, I did quite a few unconventional things in the job hunt. One of the things that helped me the most IMO was this: If I wanted to interview at a firm that didn't traditionally recruit at my school, I made a chart that showed the class of 2012's entering statistics and US News Rank at each of the schools they recruited from and my own school. When you present that data in a readable format, it was very often the case that the students in my class statistically outperformed the students at some of (and in limited cases all of) the schools those firms recruited at. I got interviews/callbacks/offers from places that had never ever hired a student from my school. In one callback, the partner didn't know where my school was located...I got the offer.


The second idea here is pure genius; props for that. But "editing" a transcript, even in an honest way seems to me like it would trip alarm bells with someone reading it. Maybe if it's someone who's not seen your schools transcripts before, they wouldn't notice; but it seems risky to me, and doing anything really crazy (like non-chronological order) seems like a recipe for disaster.

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let/them/eat/cake
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Re: How to present a low GPA on a resume?

Postby let/them/eat/cake » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:54 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Unfortunately, the way my transcript formats out when I get an unofficial one for download, the first page of my transcript lists only the C- and my cumulative gpa, then you have to turn the pages to see the rest (which probably won't happen if people are looking to filter through 30-80-200 applications). My transcript is a couple of pages long.




Exactly the reason why you say fuck the CSO and do what you need to do to market yourself. That multiple page bs is always going to be slanted in the favor of the kids that have excellent grades. The kids with poor grades have to hope someone reads through all that crap to get to the good stuff.

Maybe you shouldn't listen to me...I dunno. In retrospect, I did quite a few unconventional things in the job hunt. One of the things that helped me the most IMO was this: If I wanted to interview at a firm that didn't traditionally recruit at my school, I made a chart that showed the class of 2012's entering statistics and US News Rank at each of the schools they recruited from and my own school. When you present that data in a readable format, it was very often the case that the students in my class statistically outperformed the students at some of (and in limited cases all of) the schools those firms recruited at. I got interviews/callbacks/offers from places that had never ever hired a student from my school. In one callback, the partner didn't know where my school was located...I got the offer.


this is fucking awesome lol way to go for it.

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Re: How to present a low GPA on a resume?

Postby Aqualibrium » Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:04 pm

Renzo wrote:
The second idea here is pure genius; props for that. But "editing" a transcript, even in an honest way seems to me like it would trip alarm bells with someone reading it. Maybe if it's someone who's not seen your schools transcripts before, they wouldn't notice; but it seems risky to me, and doing anything really crazy (like non-chronological order) seems like a recipe for disaster.



I don't advocate for altering,editing, or putting things out of chronological order in any way. I just know that making things easier to read = win. If you click the link below you can download a template of what my transcript looks like.

http://www.mediafire.com/?bfa03w0arvl6ejr

Renzo
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Re: How to present a low GPA on a resume?

Postby Renzo » Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:12 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:
Renzo wrote:
The second idea here is pure genius; props for that. But "editing" a transcript, even in an honest way seems to me like it would trip alarm bells with someone reading it. Maybe if it's someone who's not seen your schools transcripts before, they wouldn't notice; but it seems risky to me, and doing anything really crazy (like non-chronological order) seems like a recipe for disaster.



I don't advocate for altering,editing, or putting things out of chronological order in any way. I just know that making things easier to read = win. If you click the link below you can download a template of what my transcript looks like.

http://www.mediafire.com/?bfa03w0arvl6ejr

That's less terrible than I had imagined, because it's so clearly not a transcript that no one would ever think even for a second that you were trying to pull a fast one. So, I take it back-maybe it's not crazy.

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Re: How to present a low GPA on a resume?

Postby Aqualibrium » Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:14 pm

Renzo wrote:That's less terrible than I had imagined, because it's so clearly not a transcript that no one would ever think even for a second that you were trying to pull a fast one. So, I take it back-maybe it's not crazy.



Exactly. I'm sure you'd also agree that my format looks a whole lot better than navigating to the grade website, hitting printscreen, and then trimming the url bar from the pdf, which is the way my CSO wants us to format transcripts.

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Re: How to present a low GPA on a resume?

Postby Renzo » Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:17 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:
Renzo wrote:That's less terrible than I had imagined, because it's so clearly not a transcript that no one would ever think even for a second that you were trying to pull a fast one. So, I take it back-maybe it's not crazy.



Exactly. I'm sure you'd also agree that my format looks a whole lot better than navigating to the grade website, hitting printscreen, and then trimming the url bar from the pdf.

It does, but that's still what I'd do for OCI interviews. Even though yours looks clean, I wouldn't want to be the one interview out of 50 that had some weird transcript; in that circumstance I think it would arouse suspicions

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Re: How to present a low GPA on a resume?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:20 pm

Aqualibrium, thanks a lot for your advice and your example. I'm going to double check the literature and make sure doing this won't conflict with an honor code or something at my school, but it's all good marketing ideas that I strongly appreciate. Even if there is some conflict with my school's rules, maybe I can send my transcript in the school downloadable format AND include a simple non-cluttered one page "transcript summary" to send in with it, in the mold of your example. Because I'm not even in the top 50% of my class, I'm not really doing much with OCI anyway these days.

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Re: How to present a low GPA on a resume?

Postby Aqualibrium » Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:31 pm

No worries. Hope it's useful to you, and good luck.




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