Remember Trina Thompson? She was the graduate from Monroe College in the Bronx who last summer sued the school because she couldn’t find a job.
One of her arguments was that with a 2.7 grade-point average, or GPA, she should have had no problem landing a gig in a lousy economy.
According to a story in the New York Times yesterday, some schools are inflating their students GPA’s to help them land jobs. (Thanks to career coach and resume writer Miriam Salpeter for pointing out this story to me.)
In the last two years, at least 10 law schools have deliberately changed their grading systems to make them more lenient. These include law schools like New York University and Georgetown, as well as Golden Gate University and Tulane University, which just announced the change this month.
Law schools seem to view higher grades as one way to rescue their students from the tough economic climate — and perhaps more to the point, to protect their own reputations and rankings.
OK, maybe it’s just me, but this seems a bit disingenuous, dare I say, even dishonest.
It’s bad enough that some job seekers get the brush off if they don’t have a degree from a fancy school. Now the fancy schools are upping the ante by handing out gold stars to all their graduates whether they deserve it or not.
In the past, I’ve asked recruiters if a GPA really makes a difference when hiring someone, and most said it can if the candidate is right out of college. Other than that, it doesn’t matter if you had a 4.0 or a 2.0 if you were able to walk away with a degree. And I had one hiring manager tell me it actually worked against a candidate when he kept talking about his 3.9 GPA during an interview. It seemed like that was the only thing he was proud of and he had been out of school for a few years already.
That said, if you have a high GPA right now and you just graduated play it up and hope the hiring manager didn’t see the New York Times article. For the rest of you, you can always sue your school.
But alas, it still may not land you the job of your dreams.
I found Thompson’s LinkedIn profile this morning and it turns out she’s working as a sales associate at Macy’s. Not a bad gig, but I’m thinking with a degree in Business Administration she may be looking for something more managerial. I sent her a message to find out what her next move is going to be.
But the big lesson here is sometimes you have to pay some dues when you get out of college before you can get the big job. I know, it’s frustrating that things just don’t fall in your lap, but most of the successful people I’ve interviewed over the years had to, at some point, prove themselves. I devoted a whole chapter in my book, “From the Sandbox to the Corner Office,” to paying dues because so many CEOs had stories they were proud of.
Yes, it’s great if you had perfect grades in school, but alas that doesn’t mean you’ll have perfect grades in the work world.
Believe it or not, I don’t even remember my GPA. I guess I would have if it was 4.0. Do you remember? Did it help or hinder your job search?