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Asked by N on July 15, 2013

WHAT DO I DO, as an engineering major who graduates with less than a 3.0 GPA, and wants to get into a large company where most the entry level position postings require a minimum of 3.0?

Answered by Bryan, Hiring Expert at IBM Corporation, on July 19, 2013

The first thing you need to do is identify whether or not any of your major target companies do federal contract business as they would need to follow OFCCP regulations.  What that means is that if you are unable to meet a required qualification, you would automatically be ineligible for the opportunity.  You do not want to waste your time applying to those positions.  While organizations that are not federal contractors have a bit more flexibility with how they define and hire against their requirements, they are usually setting minimum qualification as a way to improve quality of hire.  Since GPA is one of the main ways a hiring manager can compare potential candidates from University level hires, it can be a challenge to overcome a GPA lower than what they have set as a requirement for the role.  That being said, work experience such as an internship can be a great way to gain valuable work experience, build your network and make contacts that can give you a work reference.  If you were not able to complete an internship during school, you might want to consider an advanced degree that will allow you an opportunity to complete an internship and raise your GPA.  Another option is to consider starting your career at a company that does not have such a requirement.  Possibly focus on working for a partnered or competing company to the larger organizations you would like to target within your career.  Smaller organizations can provide a number of great benefits such as the opportunity to wear many hats helping you to gain valuable experience quickly.  Working for a smaller competitor in the tech industry also brings up the possibility of being acquired as part of an acquisition. 

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Answered by Emily, Hiring Expert at Fifth Third Bank, on July 24, 2013

You should still post for the positions and hope that your other skills and a great interview will offset the GPA. You should work  your  network within those companies, too, and that may help you gain more exposure that you wouldn't otherwise have. Think broader than just your friends,too, when looking at who you know that works at those companies. Think of your parents, aunts/uncles, family friends who may know someone who knows someone there.

You should check out this book called How Hard Are you Knocking by Tim Augustine which is great for a recent grad in a very competitive job market for some great suggestions.

Another suggestion, as a rule of thumb I don't recommend listing a GPA on a resume unless it's impressive. Average or below average can just hurt your chances and  if they want to know what it is, they will call you. This is what you want - an opportunity for a conversation to sell yourself.

Good luck!    

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Answered by Kit, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on July 24, 2013

You should definitely apply to all career opportunities that seem to align with your degree, interest and credentials. Qualifications are listed as a guide and is part of our screening process, however, many organizations evaluate applicants holistically. In addition to the GPA, we consider academic courses taken, engagement/school activities, projects, and many others as part of the selection process. Best of luck in your job search!

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Answered by Megan, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, on October 30, 2013

I recommend continuing to look for positions at the large companies where you would like to work, but be open to considering positions that may not be your dream job or even in the engineering field. Getting your foot in the door is the first step, from there, do a stellar job at whatever position you find and management will notice. If you are able to demonstrate that you are a hard worker and have the skills even if you don't have the GPA, there may be leeway when it comes to a GPA requirement when applying for a position internally.
If this option does not appeal to you, you could also go back to school for a second degree or even a masters to demonstrate you dedication to getting a higher GPA. This is obviously a much more expensive and time consuming option, but it would most definitely stand out to an employer.

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