Weekly Career Tip: GPA on a Resume

Should you include your GPA on your resume? There’s no one correct answer to that question, but generally speaking, employers will be more focused on your practical experience than your academic experience, so once you have a few years of full-time work in your field, including your GPA on your resume won’t make much of an impact.

For those who may not have a lot of work experience, including a high GPA can make a favorable impression. You should only include your GPA if it is considered high; for many fields this would be 3.5 or higher. In some fields (i.e. engineering) a GPA above a 3.0 may be considered high; know your particular area of the field and what GPA would be looked upon favorably.

It is never wrong to not include your GPA, so if your GPA is not considered high, you don’t need to worry that leaving it off of your resume signals that you haven’t been academically successful. (The exception here is if an application form or application instructions specifically ask you to include GPA to submit transcripts.)

Weekly Career Tip: Reach Out Now

Imagine that you have a professional need: a job, an introduction, a recommendation, someone to provide expertise, etc. Make a list of the ten people to whom you would reach out to fulfill that need. Reach out to each of those people now with an update, a useful link, or an introduction to an interesting contact. Build your professional relationships by maintaining contact and seeking to be helpful, even when you don’t have an immediate need. Doing so will make it more likely that your contacts will be happy to assist you when you have a need.

Weekly Career Tip: When to Follow Up

When NOT to follow up

After submitting a resume or application
Much of the career advice online advises applicants to follow up with an email or phone call after submitting an application. However, from the point of view of the employer, these communications are a distraction or annoyance rather than a helpful indication of interest. Once you have submitted your application, you can assume that the employer will contact you if it desires to move you forward as a candidate.

When to follow up

After an interview
After an in-person or phone interview, send a thank you note within 24 hours. Handwritten notes can be a nice touch, but there’s also a benefit to the immediacy of an email. (It is appropriate to send both, as long as they don’t say exactly the same thing.) In the thank you note, express appreciation for the employer’s time in conducting your interview and comment on something that you learned or clarify how you believe you can add value to the organization.

After making a new connection
The aim of networking is to build relationships, so after you’ve made a new connection you’ll want to follow up. Send a personalized invitation to connect via LinkedIn or a brief email letting the person know how much you enjoyed meeting her/him. You can continue to communicate with your connections by sending periodic updates, interesting articles, or introductions to others.

When someone offers to do something for you
There are times when a professor, former supervisor, or new contact will offer to help you out in some way, but then weeks will go by and you won’t hear anything from him/her. Often this isn’t from any disinclination on the other person’s part; busy schedules and pressing priorities tend to get in the way. Feel free to follow up with a polite email 1-2 weeks after the initial conversation. If you still don’t receive a response, follow up once more another 1-2 weeks after the reminder communication.

Career and Professional Development Opportunities, Week of 5/19/2014

This month: Discover Public Health webinar on Environmental and Occupational Health, GWebinar: Competition vs Collaboration, open house for full-time private trainers. Find the latest job and internship openings on the Milken Institute School of Public Health Jobs Database.

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Alumni Career Profile: Benjamin Takai, MPH ’09

We interviewed Benjamin Takai, MPH ’09, Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration for the District of Columbia Department of Health. In his interview, Benjamin discusses the variety of hats he wears as a public health worker in infectious disease prevention, his prior experience and career path to his current position, and advice for students and alumni who are interested in working in this field. Read the interview.

EVENT: GW LinkedIn Virtual Networking Hour, 5/13

Join fellow GWAA LinkedIn group members for this unique opportunity to share your experiences, exchange career tips and build your professional network! 2,000+ Colonials from 20+ countries and 25+ States have participated in past virtual networking hours! Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to connect with Colonials from around the world.

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