As a student or recent graduate, you probably have one primary event that dominates your resume and career history: Your education. At this point, if you’re like most of us, your years in the classroom far outweigh your years in the workforce. So it’s logical to assume that employers, recruiters, and hiring managers will emphasize your GPA as they evaluate your potential and calculate your merit as an applicant. After all, they have little else on which to base this assessment, and your bright smile and firm handshake can only take you so far.

But don’t be fooled. Despite your assumptions, and despite what guidance counselors and parents may have you believe, your grades are not the only tool at your disposal as you grab the lowest rung of the ladder and work your way up. In fact, here are three aspects of your profile that will shine far brighter than your GPA, especially as you place a few months between your graduation date and the present.

Your sense of enterprise

What are you doing with your days and weeks in addition to searching for work? If your answer is “nothing”, don’t expect employers to be impressed. A relentless job search that consumes your entire life won’t win you any merit badges in the working world. But here are a few things that will: Volunteering for a non-profit organization, working on a personal artistic endeavor, learning a new language, learning a new programming skill, working on an open source project, taking an activist role in the community, working part time, or holding a temporary position.

Your network

The wider and more diverse your network of friends, acquaintances, and connections, the better. Having a wide and far flung group of contacts from many different walks of life can help you in two key areas: first, more people means more doors, more paths, and more options. If one employer doesn’t appreciate your profile, who cares? With a wide network, you can quickly move onto the next. And second, a big network keeps your name in constant circulation, so if there’s an opening out there somewhere, there’s a stronger chance that you’ll hear about it.

Your goal flexibility

If you’re setting out onto the job market with only one very specific plan in mind, and you refuse to budge or “settle” for a single variation in that rigid plan, expect a long search. Keep in mind that at the entry level, almost all experience is valuable experience as long as you stay in motion and keep growing. Widening your target and staying open to opportunities and fields that don’t fit your initial vision can help you launch a thriving career.

For more on how to move past your GPA and establish your footing in the working world, reach out to the job search team at Expert Staffing.

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