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With graduation just completed at many colleges and universities, and new graduates preparing to jump into the job market, a question that often arises is: “Should I show my GPA on my résumé?”

If there is a “cut-off” for GPA, it is probably in the 3.0 to 3.3 range. It is considered a must for new graduates if one graduated with a good grade point average. It probably would not make much difference for new graduates who just made it through. If asked, however, tell the truth.

Many people, including some very successful names, were not good students, or never even graduated at all. The GPA is unnecessary for seasoned veterans, although if one has a wealth of work experience as well as a recent college degree with a high GPA, it should be included on the résumé.

If one graduated Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, or Summa Cum Laude or Dean’s List, including the GPA on the résumé would certainly be a good idea. And if stated in the job requirements, it must be included in all cases.

However, after one to two years on the job, the GPA becomes much less relevant as your performance on the job takes precedent and becomes a more meaningful indicator of your worth as an employee.

Academic standing or a top GPA are career changers when credentials in a new field are in part based on their education. One might also ponder including the GPA for one’s major if it is higher than the overall GPA, but only if it is 3.0 or higher. For example, if one achieved a 3.1 overall and a 3.7 for the major, include only the 3.7 for the major.

Eagle Scout? Show it on your résumé?

Yes! Why? Because the requirements are huge, and it takes a lot of time to complete each phase. To an employer, it shows a lot of character. Completing each phase might also be viewed as something like project management.

Also if one has a successful record performing volunteer work, you may wish to consider adding it to your résumé. If one has worked on an internship, and the internship is related to the job at hand, the experience should be included.

Another question that appears from time to time is “Should I paste my résumé into an email or attach it as a Word document or PDF?” If you send it in the body of an email, much of the formatting could be lost. Sending your résumé as an attachment would solve this problem. However, one should always send the résumé as the employer requests it to be sent.

Some employers may want you to paste the résumé into a box on their application form, in which case you could convert the DOC file to a plain text (TXT) version, copy it, then paste it into the box. This will lose the formatting, but it will also save one a lot of grief compared to pasting the DOC file directly.

Another possibility would be to paste the résumé, tweak it with the bullets inserted as symbols by hand, send it to yourself to make sure it looks okay. Once you are satisfied that the résumé looks good, send it to the employer. Always remember to follow the direction of the employer. If you cannot follow direction, why on earth would they consider hiring you?

One could also do both: paste the résumé into the body of the email, and attach it as well. That way if the employer is unable to open the attachment for some reason, they will still have access to your résumé in the body of the email.

It is probably best to place your résumé as an attachment so that you maintain the formatting features of your résumé, and ensure a better looking result. Virtually every company uses Microsoft Word as their word processing software, so if you use Word and send to a company that uses Word – and almost everyone does – you are safe.

Should an older or more mature worker show experience, and accompanying dates, that are more than 25 years ago?

These options are interesting: Generally, 20 to 25 years should be the cut-off. Older experience could also be shown in the Summary of Experience paragraph as well. Although an employer is not supposed to discriminate based on age, a more experienced worker may look (a) Old, and (b) Expensive.

Yet older and more experienced workers often set examples for work ethic and mentoring. Having an older more mature worker on staff is often a stabilizing force. An acquaintance of mine, a lady, age 86, works 3 days a week in the Accounting Department of a North County manufacturer. She does in 3 days what previously two employees did working full time!

If older experience in germane to the job at hand, of course it would be utilized. Rather than showing dates such as: 1977 to 1985, you may wish to use “8 Years.” Experience prior to 1985 should be used sparingly.

Are there hard and fast rules for everything that should be done with a résumé? No. Use good judgment, follow the directions of the employer, and meet the requirements of the job at hand.

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