What Do Employers Search For? Technical Skills or a High GPA? | NoBSJobSearchAdvice.com

Listen to the full episode here

EP 1387 Usually a less experienced person will ask this question and I answer it for them and for a more experienced person.

Read Full Transcript

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
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1300 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. JobSearchTV.com was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Connect with me on LinkedIn. Then message me to schedule an initial complimentary session.

If you have questions for me, call me through the Magnifi app for iOS (video) or PrestoExperts.com (phone)

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com 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.  

Connect with me on LinkedInLike me on Facebook.


Join and attend my classes on Skillshare. Become a premium member and get 2 months free.

Join Career Angles on Facebook and receive support, ideas and advice in your current career and job.

You can order a copy of “Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems” for Kindle on Amazon and receive free Kindle versions of “No BS Resume Advice” and “Interview Preparation.” If you are starting your search, order, “Get Ready for the Job Jungle.” 

Don’t forget to give the show 5 stars and a good review in iTunes

If you want to know how to win more interviews, order “Winning Interviews.” You’ll learn how to win phone interviews, in-person interviews, the best question to ask on any interview and more.

Would you like to talk through a salary negotiation or potential negotiation you’re involved with? Order and schedule time with me.

Do you have questions or would like advice about networking or any aspect of your search. Order and schedule time with me.

Would you like me to critique your resume. Order a critique from me

Jeff’s Kindle book, “You Can Fix Stupid: No BS Hiring Advice,” is available on Amazon.

About the author

Leave a Comment, Thought, Opinion. Speak like you're speaking with someone you love.

%d bloggers like this: