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Engineering Help writing a CV for someone with bad grades

  1. Oct 22, 2017 #1
    So I'm a fourth year EE & Physics student without a previous work experience and unfortunately with bad grades, currently I'm sitting on a 76 average, the thing is that my first year was rough and that's where most of my bad grades are, which are mostly mathematics courses, otherwise I have pretty good grades on anything related to signal processing (87+ my highest grade is 97 on an intro to random signals course) , I have a nice grade on an intro to software system course (basically advanced C programming and C++ with focus on understanding OOP) and my physics courses are mostly OK (some 70s some 80s and 90s) , and that's it as far as I can tell, without the math courses my average goes up to 81 but I'm not sure how to present that, in addition I'm a student at a top University in my country so that might help as well, question is how do I present the situation in a CV that will get me past HR and into an interview?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2017 #2
    Don't mention classes, just list how you became involved in whatever projects you worked on, and what you accomplished.
  4. Oct 22, 2017 #3


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    In general employers are a lot more interested in the skill set that you bring to the table rather than your mark in first year calculus. Some will use grades as a means of screening candidates of course, but those tend to be in the minority - at least in my experience.

    When it comes to your CV, ideally you want to tailor it to the position you are applying for. Find out as much as you can about a position before applying for it and use this information to shape your CV. Focus on the skills that you've acquired and the tangible projects that you've completed. You would include course information if it's directly relevant to the position - i.e. I would certainly bring up the signal processing course and even go into detail about the material covered and projects you've completed if the position you're applying for needs someone who can do some signal processing.
  5. Oct 22, 2017 #4
    A good philosophy is if it's bad, don't bring it up. Talk about your strengths and how your strengths mesh well with the company. If there are issues make them have to ask you about them. If they do, tell the truth, but dont give excuses.

    Writing your CV you are focusing to much on how to explain the bad stuff. What you should be doing is shining a light on the good stuff.
  6. Oct 23, 2017 #5
    I might've not communicated it clearly, but I haven't taken any major projects, I'm taking one this semester and it's a big one, but I cannot include it yet.... I'm sure enough of my abilities and I know I can pass an interview, I need to pass HR which do screen by grades seeing that the employers in my area are mostly big cooperations such as Intel and Melanox, so with this additional info, on which (rather few) assets should I focus on?
  7. Oct 23, 2017 #6


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    In my experience when an employer screens by grades, they do so by requesting official transcripts. Whether you mention GPA on your CV or not is largely irrelevant because they'll go by the transcripts. And in that sense, you're really at the mercy of the process.

    As far as the CV itself goes, you can focus on the smaller things that you've done in your courses. What kinds of programs did you write in your programming courses? What topics did your signal processing courses cover? What physics labs have you done? Something doesn't have to be a major research project to be mentioned on a CV.

    And if your CV is weak because you don't have any work experience - the solution to that is getting work experience. I realize relevant internships may be difficult to come by and therein you have a "chicken-egg" problem. But remember that even somewhat unrelated work experience can bring skill sets to the table that employers might be interested in. Experience in retail sales, for example, can give you soft skills in customer relations and dealing with difficult people. If it's not work experience, you could also consider volunteering.
  8. Oct 23, 2017 #7
    Job markets are local, as are customs and habits relating to mentioning grades on the CV. I encourage the students we mentor to frame the available information in the best possible light, which includes not only listing what one has done on the CV, but also indicating a number of indicators of quality.

    If grades do not serve as indicators of quality on your CV, I'd give some careful consideration of what accomplishments you have that might. Awards? Publications? Employment? References? What you've done is important, but being able to make a case that you've done it well is more important in a competitive environment.

    If you don't have any or many indicators of quality, I'd give serious consideration to how you might begin accruing them.
  9. Oct 23, 2017 #8


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    What is your major GPA (only EE and Physics)?

    I did something very similar and slacked off my first few years. Fortunately I turned it around and my major GPA was 3.8, while my actual GPA was much lower. So on my resume I could put in major GPA. Hopefully you have a decent major GPA.
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