“I got straight A’s! Gimme the job!” Don’t say this unless you want to be laughed out of the interview. One day (or perhaps even right now) you will have your own company or you will be hired at another company because of the desire to make money. High grades alone prove nothing of your ability to be successful. They give a hint that you can be successful. After all, you are due some credit. Getting good grades takes effort. But by no means do good grades equate to good jobs.
Are Good Grades Enough?
People tell you good grades are important, but they will quickly change their tune when you ask to be paid well because of them.
Getting good grades is beneficial in some ways. A high GPA will likely get you into your college of choice, and some employers may request to see your transcripts. Getting good grades proves you are smart and have a quality work ethic. High grades also show you have a high likelihood of being able to make money and in turn make something of yourself.
It has been my experience that good grades are a good foundation for a quality life. But I think of grades as being the foundation of a house. A foundation is necessary to build a quality house, but at the end of the day, you cannot live in the foundation alone. You must build upon that foundation in order to build a proper house.
GPA Is Irrelevant in the Job Market
When I was job searching, I researched how to create the perfect resume. My biggest question was, “Should I put my GPA on my resume?” My GPA equaled an ‘A’ average, so it was good, but did anyone even care? Would it just take up space where I could include more leadership experience?
On most of the resumes I sent out, I left it off. Do you know how many people inquired about my GPA? One. One person! Keep in mind the jobs I applied for were largely well-paying jobs. And the one person who asked only asked over a relaxed lunch interview. This may be frustrating if you’re like me and have good grades, but it’s the reality. Employers care about other things more important than grades.
What else should a person focus on besides grades? Before looking for a post-college full-time job, I asked this question to at least a dozen recruiters. They told me that while in college I should focus on internships, being a leader (not just being a member), and networking. Excel in these three areas, and finding a job after college will be all too easy.
Does Getting Good Grades Keep You from Other Traits Employers Want?
Let’s look at getting good grades another way. Many of us are conditioned that good grades are the be-all, end-all, but at what cost? How many hours of studying will you have to complete in order to achieve an ‘A’? 15 hours? 20 hours? 60 hours? What else could you do in that amount of time? Perhaps your time is better spent focusing on internships, leading organizations, networking, and earning the almighty dollar.
Your time is your most valuable asset. How will it be spent best?
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t put your all into studying and earning good grades. If you plan to go to graduate school, yes, getting good grades is important. However, if you plan to enter the workforce after you earn your undergraduate degree, being well-rounded is more important.
You Don’t Have to Take My Word for It
In an interview with James Franco, he spoke about getting a ‘D’ in a film class he took at New York University. He said, “I didn’t even know what my grades were at NYU because grades don’t matter. What matters are the films that you make. Anybody coming out of film school is not going to go to Sony or Warner Brothers and say, ‘Hey I got an ‘A’ in acting class; give me a job.’ They are going to say, ‘Show me the work you did,’ and then hire you based on that. So, I did not care one bit…”
Billionaire Elon Musk was quoted in his authorized biography saying that he only did just as well as necessary in most classes so that he wouldn’t fail. The way he saw it was that if something wasn’t important, why should he try to get an ‘A’? In the classes that did matter to him, he passed with flying colors. He chose to point his energy to the more important pursuits.
Are Advanced Degrees Important?
On a college campus, most people think if you want to do well in the world, the more education, the better. However, if this were so, the most successful people of our time would all have advanced degrees, but that is rarely the case.
Elon Musk has further said that if you want to change humanity for the better, a Ph.D. is rarely needed. As you may realize by now, despite doing well in school (overall) Elon is not a fan of classrooms. He says it’s better to read a book than attend a lecture simply because the information intake can be much faster when reading a book rather than listening to a professor.
Do Good Grades Equate to Good Jobs?
If you want to get a good job and be rich – don’t focus on grades so much. Focus on bettering yourself and humanity. Of course, the catch is that to better yourself and humanity, you’ll need to learn quite a few things in school. In other words, do enough in school to get by, but focus your attention on being a leader and being involved in extracurriculars.
Most employers will never ask what your GPA is. They care much more about how you can help them advance their company and the company’s ideals.
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in New York where she loves the natural beauty of the area.