The deeply stigmatised 2:2 classification seems to reduce the value of a degree, leaving many students who receive a 2:2 often feel inadequate and deeply disappointed with themselves. A large number of recruitment sites ask for a 2:1 when advertising jobs, so graduates with a 2:2 or lower may feel like they have absolutely no chance at securing their dream job. However, it is necessary to dispel some of these disheartening ideas.
Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (2013-14) shows the percentages for those in full-time employment six months after graduation is almost exactly the same for those with firsts, 2:1s and 2:2s. Sure, it might be harder and it may take longer to get a job than other graduates but if you are proactive, determined and motivated, there’s no reason why you can’t secure your ideal job or career.
If you have graduated with a 2:2 and you don’t know what to do next, here are some tips for you:
• Some graduate schemes have flexible entry requirements. For example, the Big 4 accountancy and professional services firms like EY, Deloitte, PwC and KPMG focus on internal assessments i.e. testing your personality to check if you would work well with the rest of the team. Do some research online or visit the careers centre at your university to find out more about companies that have a more flexible approach when recruiting students and that tend to place less focus on what grades you achieved at university.
• If you are unsure whether a job that you are interested in will accept your 2:2 grade, reach out to the employer before applying and explain your situation e.g if you had genuine extenuating or mitigating circumstances that prevented you from achieving a higher grade, let them know. It is important to self-reflect - be honest and explain to them why you got lower grades than expected. Be prepared for rejections, as this is normal, but remain focused and don’t give up.
• Apply at a start-up. In contrast to larger, well-established companies, start-up organisations often have a more flexible environment for new graduates as they usually consider personality and character to be as important as a degree grade. Working at a start-up can be a great opportunity for you to gain valuable experience and responsibility more quickly.
• Work on improving your CV - many employers are increasingly placing a higher value on work experience in the sector, so it may be a good idea for you to try to secure an internship to boost your employability. Listing your extracurricular activities as well as demonstrating transferable and sought after skills like fluency in another language will highlight your unique attributes and make your CV more appealing to employers. It may also be useful to list your modular breakdowns on your CV – if you have done exceptionally well in certain modules that relate to the job you want to apply for, employers will be able to see your strengths and take that into account when making a decision.
• If you are interested in doing a Postgraduate degree, there are courses that accept a 2:2, and you can research online to find out what options are available to you. When applying, illustrate how a Master’s degree fits into your long-term goals and identify strengths in particular modules from your undergraduate degree. However, in many cases, a Master’s degree won’t compensate for lower grades in your undergrad so make sure that you are doing it for the right reasons: doing a Master’s requires a lot of hard work and commitment so think carefully about whether this is the right option for you.
• Develop your networking skills – it may seem like this piece of advice is overused nowadays, but networking can be extremely helpful. Try to develop contacts at careers fairs and employer and alumni events. These events will grant you direct access to employers and getting the chance to speak to representatives from organisations will allow you to network effectively and receive worthwhile tips and advice.
- Sonam Nundoochan