There are many ways to bolster your resume over your college career. You can go strictly the academic route, the more extra-curricular focused route, or go for a nice hybrid of the two. Of course, one would ideally have great extra-curricular activities and have a great set of grades. Although nice, it can be somewhat unattainable if you are also looking to sleep, enjoy a social life to some extent, and stay as healthy as possible. In saying all that, you may be wondering what you can do to stand out to recruiters and possible employers. You may be surprised at how minimal one aspect of your resume can really be to recruiters and employers.
My biggest takeaway from job fairs, networking, and job interviews over the last two years is how much employers care about the applicants extra-curricular activities. Never once did I come across a recruiter that cared to discuss my GPA to any extent more than noting it. In saying that, a low GPA would probably be noted, but that is not always the case. GPA, in my opinion, is used to weed out some of the applications in what can be a large pile at times. It can also be used as a way to break a tie between two applicants if it gets down to a few people competing for the job. Employers realize that GPA matters but they also recognize that you will not be getting lectured at your job and then get asked to prove that you actually know what you learned in an exam. What most jobs involve is a team-oriented environment that looks for group outcomes, not a bunch of individual outcomes. Here’s where the next part comes in…
Employers want to see you involved with your major outside of the classroom, be involved with student clubs and organizations, intramurals, student government, get a job (on or off campus), be on a committee, really just anything that makes you more than a student that just goes to class! Now, if you just go to class, that is OK! Ideally you are knocking those A’s out of the park in class, but not to worry if not, because to be honest, class gets easier when you have more stuff in your schedule (to an extent). So, if you are not involved beyond the classroom on campus, go get involved!
The biggest takeaway from my soon to be four years of school has been that it is to your benefit to be involved beyond the classroom. It makes college more fun because you know more people, have a wider variety of things to do, and employers will notice and appreciate all of the extra time and effort you put into school. If you really take the time to excel outside of the classroom and get at least a 3.0 or better in the classroom, you will be surprised at how many employers will look at your resume in higher regards than someone with a 4.0 and no extra-curricular activities. Now I am not saying that a 4.0 is not impressive, because it is, but do not get hung up in holding that 4.0 when you have the time, resources, and capability to pursue opportunities that may only be available while in college.
Although you may not think you have the time to pursue opportunities outside of the classroom you may just be surprised at what you can do. Give it a shot and you may impress yourself and your future employer with all the extra and interesting stuff you can do.