9 Things That Matter More Than Your GPA

 As a student, you worry about your GPA and how it will affect your ability to get a job. But how much does it really matter? Is your GPA an accurate indicator of what kind of employee you’ll be?

Grades are the determining factor for performance in school. But in the professional world, that’s not how it works. The GPA you achieve in college doesn’t matter once you join the rat race.

Here’s what does:
1. Knowing how you learn

Spend time during college determining how you best learn and retain information. Some people need to see it, some need to hear it, some need to write it and some need to practice it before it sticks. As an employee, you’ll need to learn new things as you go, remember them and prove you’ve absorbed the information.

2. Applying theory to real-life situations

It’s one thing to recite the 4 Ps of marketing or learn how the purchase decision funnel looks on paper, but things won’t always happen in the marketplace the way they do in your textbooks. Learn how to take fundamental information and proven best practices and apply them in new situations or projects. The real world will always throw new variables at you, so knowing how to adapt theory to practice is crucial.

3. Time management

Learn how much time you need to research and write a paper, get to your classes and jobs on time, fit a workout in your day and still have something of a social life. Time management is a vital skill. In your professional life, you’ll need to know how to manage your time to meet deadlines, tackle to-do lists, and avoid banging your head against the wall in the process.

4. Relevant professional experience

Jobs, internships, student organizations and volunteer projects in your industry will prepare you for the working world. Work in your field as much as you can during college and learn about what you want to do (or in some cases, what you don’t want to do). Your experience will be a much better indicator for your potential in a new position.

5. A portfolio

Keep samples of your best work from classes and internships. Many employers will want to see your work before hiring you. If you’re not building a portfolio through things you’re required to do before you graduate, then produce these things on your own time. Practice writing articles, press releases, pitches, designing publications, compiling clip reports, research summaries or anything else you might be hired to do.

6. The ability to give and receive feedback

Learning to accept praise and criticism is important. You’ll participate in employee reviews with your boss someday, so the ability to hear different types of feedback, internalize it and adjust accordingly will matter to your job performance. It’s also important to learn to how to give feedback to others. When you collaborate with colleagues, you’ll have to offer positive and negative comments on others’ work.

7. Presentation skills

Offer to be the speaker on behalf of your group in your classes, and learn how to present your projects as an intern. The ability to convey ideas clearly, speak confidently with your bosses and discuss your experience in interviews will be an important part of your professional life.

8. Writing skills

Too many students leave college lacking solid writing ability. Focus on developing this skill, because it will matter in everything from reports to pitches to emails.
9. Your network

You’ve heard it many times: “Who you know is more important than what you know.” It’s true. Start building your network right away. Get in the habit of meeting new people, nourishing your relationships and helping others by making introductions. You are most likely to find job opportunities through your network.