When applying for work, or further education in the UK, it’s important to include the grades you’ve achieved in your ‘Education’ section on the CV.
I’ve had many conversations with students who haven’t wanted to include their grades for a number of reasons; maybe they didn’t do so well, or they’re international and the grading system is different.
It’s important to be honest on your CV. It’s very easy for employers to find out the truth about your grades. But equally, as employers spend so little time glancing at your CV initially (5-30 seconds), it's important to shine the best light on your skills and experiences.
If you didn’t do as well as you’d have hoped
Many students face this scenario for different reasons, but there are ways to bounce back on your CV.
1. If you attained a 2:2 grade, but this equated to 57-59%, it would be better to write the % or both e.g. 2:2 (58%).
2. Include some relevant modules where grades may have been stronger.
But remember to be consistent with these – it will be ineffective writing grades for some and not others.
E.g. Relevant modules: Social Policy (62%), Social Problems (60%), Policy Evaluation (59%)
3. Include relevant work you have done (coursework, projects, presentations etc.) and the more attractive grade you achieved.
Also underneath, bullet point key skills you used that are relevant to what you’re applying to.
E.g. Relevant work: Which are the most promising approaches for new antibiotic discovery? (62%)
- Researched key scientific literature and analysed and collated data.
- Wrote a detailed scientific report documenting my findings.
4. If you have received mitigating circumstances for your grades, say so.
If employers are seeking a 2:1 and you have a lower grade, you can still be considered if you let them know about your mitigating circumstances.
E.g. University of Bath, BSc Management – 2:2 (56% with mitigating circumstances)
5. Include your First Year Average and/or Second Year Average if these are a better representation of what you can achieve.
It’s still important to highlight your final overall grade, but this will give employers a sense of what you could have achieved.
E.g. University of Bath, BSc Management – 2:2
First Year Average: 64% Second Year Average: 63%
You should be up-front about your grades, whilst demonstrating your strengths and the key skills you have. This way, the overall grade may not have as strong an influence on the employer's decision making.
If you are really uncomfortable about including your grades, it is okay to omit them from your CV - but remember to be consistent. Still include any relevant modules or work you have done and focus on the skills you have gained.
If you were graded differently to in the UK
In the USA, India and China, for example, students receive a GPA. In the UK, employers aren’t familiar with GPA and so the score you achieved may be lost on them.
However, it’s still important that employers are aware of what you have achieved, so do still include the grade but display it in a way that is universally understood.
I would recommend including the original grade alongside a % of what this translates to. Or, converting it so that it is /10.
E.g. 93.75% (3.75 GPA)
The UK Government has issued an overseas degree equivalency table that highlights what international grades translate to in the UK. However, use this with caution. Remember to still include your original grade - if the employer requests transcripts and there are inconsistencies, this will raise red flags.
If you'd like some feedback or support with your CV, then book a CV and Applications Feedback appointment through MyFuture.