Grades aren’t everything: 4 skills that are more important to your employer

by Susan Mullin

As graduation season approaches, many students are applying for their first real adult jobs. As we struggle to get all our cover letters done in time and ask for reference letters left and right, we’re still trying to keep up our grades to impress potential employers. It has been ingrained in us that grades are the most important thing when recruiters seek talent.

The truth of the matter is that your GPA is not the end-all-be-all. Here are four things that are more important to your employers than your grades:

Your speaking and communication ability

Public speaking is a crucial aspect of any job. Whether it’s pitching new campaigns, board meeting presentations, or simply speaking up at a meeting, being well-spoken is a huge plus! If you demonstrate yourself capable of carrying a conversation and are able to deliver ideas effectively then you are sure to go up several points in any employer’s eyes. 

Being a team player

Getting good grades on solo endeavors is great but it doesn’t prove to your employer that you are capable of teamwork. Teams are essential in the real world where almost every project involves multiple heads coming together to come up with a solution.

You can be the valedictorian of your class but if you are unable to collaborate with others then you aren’t much help at all. The last thing you want is to have your co-workers say that you’re difficult to work with. Show your interviewer that you are open-minded and check your ego at the door!


This is key, particularly in writing. After spending more than eight years of our lives writing papers with extravagant vocabulary, we’re accustomed to writing to get to a certain page or word count limit.

In the real world, the shorter and more concise the better. Fluffy words and sentences that don’t really say anything (even if they demonstrate your extensive knowledge) aren’t going to meet expectations. 


Working environments are constantly changing, requiring you to adjust to the current atmosphere. Adaptation is crucial to surviving in the workplace, no matter the industry that you’re in.

You can’t expect your work life to be structured like a thought-out syllabus. Constant disruptors will be thrown into the mix, and you need to be able to bounce back from it. Hard skills can be taught, but being adaptable is priceless.

Even though it’s important to show high academic performance, remember that you have other skills. Don’t rely only on your transcript and let your soft skills shine in your next job interview! 

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