Low GPA, upward trend, mass mailing/resume questions

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Low GPA, upward trend, mass mailing/resume questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:30 am

Rising 2L at MVP. GPA 3.0. Large GPA increase second semester (0.6 higher than the first semester).

If I mass mail firms, the only way employers will see my upward grade trend is by looking at the transcript. Is there anywhere else I should highlight this? I believe cover letter is a huge no no, but let me know if you think otherwise. Should it be indicated on my resume by including, first semester GPA, second semester GPA and cumulative GPA? I worry about this because the first semester GPA is low and putting it first, or anywhere on the resume may be a one-way ticket to trashcan.

Do people typically indicate what their school's target mean in somewhere in their mailings?

Thanks for your help. GPA has me stressing out pretty bad for obvious reasons. Did everything I could second semester, but it just doesn't seem to be enough.

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Re: Low GPA, upward trend, mass mailing/resume questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:01 pm

Bump

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thesealocust
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Re: Low GPA, upward trend, mass mailing/resume questions

Postby thesealocust » Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:40 pm

Since I'm assuming that means something like 2.4 first semester and 3.6 second, I actually would highlight that in your cover letter. A 3.0 is going to get passed over almost everywhere, so you kind of need a hail marry at this point, and mentioning the shift (and hopefully what caused the shift) in your CL will help, especially if I'm write about the numbers (2.7 -> 3.3 buys you less because a 3.3 isn't going to make many sit up and take notice either).

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Re: Low GPA, upward trend, mass mailing/resume questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:58 am

thesealocust wrote:Since I'm assuming that means something like 2.4 first semester and 3.6 second, I actually would highlight that in your cover letter. A 3.0 is going to get passed over almost everywhere, so you kind of need a hail marry at this point, and mentioning the shift (and hopefully what caused the shift) in your CL will help, especially if I'm write about the numbers (2.7 -> 3.3 buys you less because a 3.3 isn't going to make many sit up and take notice either).


thesealocust, thanks for the response. Unfortunately, I'm in the 2.7 -> 3.3 situation. Target mean at my school is just under 3.2. In this situation it's not worth it to mention it in the CL right? Also, should I leave it off the resume, or should I put second semester GPA and cumulative on the resume and hope for the best? Perhaps my CSO is right and I should leave it off and just let the transcript stand? Thanks for you help.

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Re: Low GPA, upward trend, mass mailing/resume questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:45 pm

Do not discuss your grades in your cover letter. Your cover letter is a sales piece. It should be a brief description of who you are and why you are interested in that particular firm. I would go with the three paragraph approach.

Introduce yourself in the first paragraph. [Note to 0L and 1Ls reading this -- here would be a great place to name drop if you had been out pounding the pavement and doing informational interviews your 1L year. If the person you spoke with tells you to apply, mention that. If they do not, don't overstate the relationship, but you can say that so-and-so had been gracious enough to speak with you about the firm and its practice groups and based upon that conversation you decided to apply.]

In the next paragraph sell your experience. What did you do this summer? What work experience do you have?

In the third paragraph, tell the firm why them. Be as specific as possible. [This would be an alternate place to name drop if you did an informational interview, but again, be sure that you don't make the conversation seem to be something it wasn't.]

Short, sweet, and to the point.

With your grades, you are on the cusp and it will be a judgment call as to how to handle it on your resume. By leaving your GPA off your resume the reader will assume that you have a low GPA -- how low they will assume it is is an open question. If they care, they will go to your transcript and see it. Depending on how your transcript is laid out, this could work to your advantage.

Honestly, though, I don't think that being barely above median in your second semester is really going to be a selling point. You are, unfortunately, in the position of getting a job in spite of your grades, not because of them. Accept that they are a blemish, but don't draw attention to them. If you get asked about them, that is the time to state -- without being embarrassed or defensive -- that you did not do as well as you had hoped first semester, that you've made significant progress in demonstrating what you have learned in class in law school exams, and that after this summer (cue raising some good experience) you are certain that the grades will continue to rise.

TLDR: Don't mention your grades, make the rest of your packet shine, hope for the best.

TooOld4This
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Re: Low GPA, upward trend, mass mailing/resume questions

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:47 pm

Apologies for the anonymous post above. I'm a new poster (directed by a friend who is applying to law school as a second career applicant) and haven't gotten the hang of the buttons.

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Re: Low GPA, upward trend, mass mailing/resume questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Do not discuss your grades in your cover letter. Your cover letter is a sales piece. It should be a brief description of who you are and why you are interested in that particular firm. I would go with the three paragraph approach.

Introduce yourself in the first paragraph. [Note to 0L and 1Ls reading this -- here would be a great place to name drop if you had been out pounding the pavement and doing informational interviews your 1L year. If the person you spoke with tells you to apply, mention that. If they do not, don't overstate the relationship, but you can say that so-and-so had been gracious enough to speak with you about the firm and its practice groups and based upon that conversation you decided to apply.]

In the next paragraph sell your experience. What did you do this summer? What work experience do you have?

In the third paragraph, tell the firm why them. Be as specific as possible. [This would be an alternate place to name drop if you did an informational interview, but again, be sure that you don't make the conversation seem to be something it wasn't.]

Short, sweet, and to the point.

With your grades, you are on the cusp and it will be a judgment call as to how to handle it on your resume. By leaving your GPA off your resume the reader will assume that you have a low GPA -- how low they will assume it is is an open question. If they care, they will go to your transcript and see it. Depending on how your transcript is laid out, this could work to your advantage.

Honestly, though, I don't think that being barely above median in your second semester is really going to be a selling point. You are, unfortunately, in the position of getting a job in spite of your grades, not because of them. Accept that they are a blemish, but don't draw attention to them. If you get asked about them, that is the time to state -- without being embarrassed or defensive -- that you did not do as well as you had hoped first semester, that you've made significant progress in demonstrating what you have learned in class in law school exams, and that after this summer (cue raising some good experience) you are certain that the grades will continue to rise.

TLDR: Don't mention your grades, make the rest of your packet shine, hope for the best.


OP here. TooOld4This, thank you for the excellent and very informative post. I'm told that employers generally assume your GPA is below 3.0 if it is left off your resume. Although this is a factor I can't control, what do you mean by depending on how your transcript is laid out? If the lay out of my transcript could work to my advantage, I think I might leave it off.

TooOld4This
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Re: Low GPA, upward trend, mass mailing/resume questions

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Jul 23, 2011 1:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
OP here. TooOld4This, thank you for the excellent and very informative post. I'm told that employers generally assume your GPA is below 3.0 if it is left off your resume. Although this is a factor I can't control, what do you mean by depending on how your transcript is laid out? If the lay out of my transcript could work to my advantage, I think I might leave it off.


Since you are right at 3.0, I'd probably put it on your resume.

What I meant about layout was whether quickly glancing at your transcript you would be able to see each semester's GPA. In other words, if you transcript looks more impressive than your GPA (like if you did well in all your classes but had a bad one that brought your GPA down second semester), then getting them to turn the page to look might be worth it. But there can be a psychological difference between a 2.X and a 3.0, so I'd probably just put it on your resume and stop worrying about it. For mass mailings, there isn't much you can do on paper to deal with the issue.

I would work on the networking angle as soon as possible. While a 3.0 isn't fatal from MVP, you will feel more in control of the process (and as a result will probably interview better) if you are more proactive than just shooting out mass mailings.

Good luck.

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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Low GPA, upward trend, mass mailing/resume questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 23, 2011 1:13 pm

TooOld4This wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
OP here. TooOld4This, thank you for the excellent and very informative post. I'm told that employers generally assume your GPA is below 3.0 if it is left off your resume. Although this is a factor I can't control, what do you mean by depending on how your transcript is laid out? If the lay out of my transcript could work to my advantage, I think I might leave it off.


Since you are right at 3.0, I'd probably put it on your resume.

What I meant about layout was whether quickly glancing at your transcript you would be able to see each semester's GPA. In other words, if you transcript looks more impressive than your GPA (like if you did well in all your classes but had a bad one that brought your GPA down second semester), then getting them to turn the page to look might be worth it. But there can be a psychological difference between a 2.X and a 3.0, so I'd probably just put it on your resume and stop worrying about it. For mass mailings, there isn't much you can do on paper to deal with the issue.

I would work on the networking angle as soon as possible. While a 3.0 isn't fatal from MVP, you will feel more in control of the process (and as a result will probably interview better) if you are more proactive than just shooting out mass mailings.

Good luck.


Should I highlight the upward trend like

First Semester GPA:
Second Semester GPA:
Cumulative GPA:

or

Second Semester GPA:
Cumulative GPA:

Thanks for the advice.




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