I’ve had a GPA of 2.7 or lower for the past 4 semesters and I just turned down Facebook and Amazon for internships.
Drop the mic . . .
But for real though, you and I both know that a 2.7 is far from stellar.
I’ve had friends who used to laugh at people with a GPA that low.
Now . . . I laugh at them because they have GPAs between 3.7 and 3.9, but can’t even get the time of day from the companies I’m turning down.
Relevant Internships are more valuable than GPA.
This is something that no one will tell you while you’re in school. Not your professors, advisors, and surely not your parents.
What parent wants their child to have poor grades? None of them.
But parents are perfectly fine with having a child with great grades and no job.
In this article, I show and prove to you why your parents, friends, professors, and society is wrong for thinking that internship and job experience isn’t as important as grades.
Let me start off by telling you a story.
I tell this story soooo often because it directly proves my point of internships being more valuable than good grades.
“I was waiting in a room to be summoned for my interview. The position was a Software Engineering internship that “claimed” they only hired juniors.
At the time, I was a sophomore with a semi-decent GPA (I won’t tell you what it is, but it was below 3.3) and one internship.
There was another student I was sitting next to who was interviewing for the same position. We attended the same university, but he was a junior.
Since we were sitting next to each other, he decided to strike up a conversation with me. I’m not much of a conversationalist, so he did most of the talking.
We started talking about our least favorite professors. Then somewhere along the lines, it got to the point where he was mentioning how he had a 3.9.
I made sure to stay quiet then knowing my GPA was way lower than his.
He also let it slip that he hadn’t had ever had an internship before.
A few moments later, I was summoned for my interview and I never saw him again . . .
Until I saw him on campus about 2 months later.
It was then that he told me he didn’t get the internship. However, I did get the internship position, but I just told him that I hadn’t heard back from yet.”
So . . . why do you think I got the internship position and he didn’t?
He was a year ahead of me and he had way better grades than me.
I’m hoping that you’re now realizing that the answer to the question was that I had actual work experience and he didn’t.
He had 1 internship to his 0.
Now, along with that story, I am going to offer you more reasons why you should focus on internships more than grades.
Employers Value Internships More Than Grades
Yes, it’s important to focus on grades.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t. BUT . . .
Your GPA and transcript don’t provide any value to companies.
Good grades only tell companies that you’ve done well in your classes and have basic knowledge of your field.
I say basic because it takes years of experience to gather the real knowledge.
You know what good grades DON’T tell companies:
- Areas you’re skilled in
- Qualities that make you unique
- Leadership capabilities
- Your personality and your passion
Your work experience, on the other hand, tells employers all of that, and more. Which is why it is the main bulk of of your resume and why they hire you.
If you have a good GPA, but no experience and skills, then you will basically have an empty resume.
Your good GPA will be at the top, but the rest of the resume will be poor because you’ll try a fill it with extra irrelevant skills and experiences.
I know this is true because I build resumes for college students.
One resume I saw a couple of weeks ago was one where a student had a 3.8 GPA. He made that very clear at the top using bold text.
But the rest of his resume was poor.
It was filled with random part-time jobs he has worked, but nothing that offered any transferable skills or even related to his major.
So basically, there wasn’t much I could do for his resume.
Now, my resume.
I don’t have the best grades, but I focused more on getting experience and finding great opportunities.
And this has helped me get internships at some of the top companies IN THE COUNTRY.
My advice to you:
- Spend at least 30 minutes a day searching for internships
- Find a company who you want to work for, and ask them if you could work for them for free to get experience. (Only if the position you’ll be working gives you direct experience in what you want to do).
- Look for opportunities on campus that will give you skills that companies value.
If you took nothing from this article, remember this:
Employers care about what you can do, not what you know. Internships serve as proof of what you can do. GPA serves as proof of what you know. This is why companies value internships over GPA.
I have plenty of friends who learned this the hard way.
They go through college spending all their time studying and trying to get the best GPA possible. Then when it comes time to graduate and get a job, they’re struggle.
Literally just yesterday, I had a friend who just graduated say that he wished he had spent less time studying and more time pursuing good experiences like internships and clubs.
This guy was a 3.9 accounting student who had one of the highest CPA exam scores at my university. But he struggled to find a job.
He was lucky enough to find a job because he had a professor use one of their connections. But besides that, he was rejected by all other companies he applied to on his own.
So moral of the story, try to get internships and get experience is as many ways as you can because that is what employers value most.