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What Do Employers Search For? Technical Skills or a High GPA? (VIDEO)

What Do Employers Search For? Technical Skills or a High GPA? (VIDEO)

Usually a less experienced person will ask this question and I answer it for them and for a more experienced person.


The question I have for today is, "What do employers search for – – technical skills or a higher GPA?"

I think this is a great question! I want to start off by saying that I am interpreting this is being asked by a less experienced person, rather than by a more experienced person. It is really consideration what a person's GPA is when they have more experience. Let's be clear, if this person has the right professional skills (I'm going to go beyond technical skills for 2nd) things like the University and the GPA become the "WOW factor."

For the average individual who is less experienced, I'm looking at this question and going, "Let's look at how this firm is searching for someone." If someone is searching on LinkedIn or a job board for someone with a particular background, they are doing the search, 1st based upon technical skill that the firm is looking for and then they are reading your resume or profile to see if you have that experience. Then they are looking at the academics.

If you have academics 1st, it is only coincidental that they are looking there. It's not good to make them think, "I must call this person." If the role, if you don't have the technical background that you have the higher GPA is completely irrelevant to them.

They have a need that needs to be met and you have to have the skills and experience to meet that need. Thus, the differentiator for you after you met that baseline of having the right skills and experiences becomes the University, the degree, and the GPA.

1st is always technical skills and/or experience, and then 2nd becomes the University, the GPA, the degree program and its reputation.

Let me give you an example. A friend of mine used to do recruiting for hedge funds in Chicago.. They only wanted to see people from specific universities with specific GPAs. PERIOD. That's more the exception to the rule , but it exists and I wanted to address that.

So to answer the question directly, it is always about the skill 1st, particularly when you are on less experienced. It doesn't matter for speaking of technical skills or professional experience, it always starts with that because they are searching keywords in order to find someone.

If you are submitting a resume, on the other hand, it may be a little bit different because they are not searching. You can call attention to your GPA in the body of the email to which you have attached your resume as part of your sales thing.

For example, if you have a 4.0 index from Stanford in a particular program, you lead with that. You talk about a year out of college, that you been working for (fill in the blank name of the organization), that's different.

For average Jane or Joe, it is always going to start off with skills and experience, and then they will go to GPA.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and leadership coaching. offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.


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