Since graduating from college/graduate school, I’ve worked in several jobs and have built a strong work resume. Unfortunately, my educational background is weak – I didn’t go to a “target school” and had a low GPA in my time. How much will this affect my chances?

I’ve received many people asking variations of this theme. Here’s my advice: If you have strong work experience – world-class firms, multiple promotions, a record of accomplishment, leadership, and risk-taking – the most important thing for you now is not your undergraduate GPA, but how you can get your resume in front of recruiters and decision-makers. Unless you plan on going back to school and utilizing their recruiting channels, it will come down to networking. There are a couple sources I suggest you hit immediately:

  • School and work alumni networks
  • Extended personal network (friends and family)
  • Headhunters – preferably the ones that don’t charge an upfront fee but work through referrals to specific firms
  • Pounding the pavement – meeting consultants at industry conferences, tradeshows, career forums, etc

Your educational record will play a part in your overall candidacy, but a minor one. If you have 5+ years of work experience, those years will be the focal point of any interview and resume screen. Your goal now is to get that opportunity.