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Subject:Re: GPA on resume From:Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET> Date:Tue, 21 Nov 1995 08:43:00 EST
>My question concerns putting my GPA's on my resume. A previous instructor
>told me that a GPA is not relevant 2-3 years out of college. I graduated
>about 6 years ago. However, I have changed careers (engineering to tech
>writing) since then, so I am wondering if it is relevant now. My GPA is
>good and I worked *dam* hard for it, so of course part of me wants to put
>it on but I have made the mistake in the past of putting things in my
>resume that I was proud of instead of what potential employers were
>I am also currently taking classes toward a professional writing degree.
>Should my GPA for that degree go on my resume. I am working in the tech
>writing field at the moment so I would guess that the degree, irregardless
>of GPA, along with writing samples are the most important thing.
>Right now, I do not have my GPA for either degree program on my resume.
>, I would put in on if it would help me. (but am also afraid it may hurt me
>if employers find that irrelevant!) What do you think?
Bill, I see resumes all the time, of wannabes looking for work in our
company. Perhaps my input will be of some help. All newcomers and students,
please take note, if only on the back of an envelope. We use mostly
contractors, but the characteristics of a good contractor aren't
qualitatively different from those for an outstanding employee.
Whenever we run ads for writers, we brace ourselves for the avalanche of
true offal. Out of one hundred resumes, we may find a half-dozen candidates
who've written anything, and can state that fact clearly and succinctly.
Maybe one will be a real find. The rest may send us resumes that were sent
to a dozen companies in a half-dozen industries, or that don't even mention
that the writer has even penned a letter to Granny, much less anything more
With that background, please understand that I'll take a good writer that
doesn't have a minute's college, if I can find her. But I'd kill for good
writers that also have college experience. Both. College alone is nice, and
I'll take it in a pinch. But the skills of a technical communicator are
varied and hard to acquire. I dream of getting the self-motivators, the
scrappers, the problem-solvers. Prove to me that you're that kind of person,
that you can learn, that you can tackle challenges, that you can see
something through even through the dark times, and you're worth top rate.
So my advice is to set out to prove these things, more or less in this order:
1. Can you write? Do you have a drive to write, to communicate? Is this your
real love? If so, have you done it for free in college, or for low pay?
2. Do you enjoy challenges? Does technology shift terrify you, or do you
revel in changes?
3. Are you tough? Do you hang on until help arrives? Do you have good sense?
If your GPA, or individual grades, support these things, then I'd say to
weave them into the resume. Just baldly stating that you have a GPA of 3.6
doesn't really say much, especially in a profession that's as ruthlessly
pragmatic as ours. But a GPA of 3.6 with a part-time job on a local paper, a
wife who works, a baby, a house and a dog, and a hobby of cracking
Microsoft's source code would be a world class achievement. Hell, you could
have MY job in a week with credentials like that.
Best of luck to you, Bill. Let us know how things turn out. BTW, how do you
rate the professional writing degree program you're enrolled in?
Simply Written, Inc.
Technical Documentation and Training