How to turn a 3.0 into a 4.0.
Credit to Kristi Pahapill, who went out and wrote this article on her own initiative. We’re always looking to share content produced by students to help other students!
“I know so many people who think that with a degree from a target school– everything will work itself out. I’m going to tell you why this is a fatal attitude to have and why it will lead you to be a group of underachievers, unless you act differently. I am also going to tell you why in order to beat out a 4.0, you need to think like a 3.0.
Let’s talk about the majority of the undergraduate world–the under 4.0 population. Employers don’t like to take on added risk, and that’s why if somebody is smart enough and a hard enough worker to achieve a 4.0, they become an attractive candidate. Since we know that employers don’t want to take added risk, we need to mitigate it. If somebody who didn’t know me read my transcript, what my 3.0 tells that person is that I’m average. Nothing more, nothing less- just average. Let’s be realistic, with thousands and thousands of students graduating with the same degree, average will not cut it. Accepting the harsh reality that a 3.0 with minimal extracurricular activities and no network WILL NOT cut it is your first step to a successful career hunt. Everything will not work out if you are not willing to work outside of school. More importantly, once you realize that you are in control of what this number means or doesn’t mean to a potential employer, you no longer become average.
So how do we control what my GPA tells someone? Ironically, it’s found in the cliché line that we’ve heard a hundred times “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. The second step to taking control of your GPA is networking. You’ve been told a hundred times that networking makes all the difference, but maybe you’re like me and you didn’t believe that you could beat out a 4.0. Maybe you don’t know where to start. Maybe you don’t know what career path you would like to venture. No more excuses, you need to figure it out. Purchase career books, properly utilize LinkedIn, start reaching out to alumni, contact career services at your school, volunteer with as many organizations as you can and attend networking events. Get as many contacts as you can and listen. Carefully listen to their advice, ask about their career paths, and ask for references. Networking is cyclical and crucial—utilize it.
If you’ve already met with people from an organization, and they can put a face to your GPA, you CAN beat out a 4.0. Nobody expects you to know anything going into your first job, so why would a GPA matter? Risk. If you have met with as many people as you can and they like you, they are no longer taking a risk on an average candidate; they are taking a risk on you, a face and personality they can recognize. Your GPA no longer becomes a liability, it becomes irrelevant. In the same sense that everything will not work itself out, a 3.0 knows that a job is not served on a gold platter. A 3.0 will go to the store to buy the ingredients and bake the cake themselves. Believe that the attitude a 3.0 possesses, a 4.0 doesn’t. This is how you can think the right way so that your 3.0 would beat a 4.0.”
We want to thank Kristi for her insight! We at ThoughtBasin are all about getting students to help students. If you feel like you want to put in the work to shine to employers directly, look no further. We encourage anybody with thoughts on this matter to come forward, and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you guys think you need to do to differentiate yourselves for employers, and how could we help you do that?