Getting a 2:2 class degree can feel like a blow- especially if it wasn’t the result you expected. After three or four years of hard work at university, you might worry that your final result will hold you back in your career journey. But, the good news is that it certainly doesn’t!
Employers look for much more in a new recruit rather than their degree class. And whilst you may find that some graduate schemes are selective, and exclude holders of 2:2 results from applying, there are many other options and routes available.
If you get an unexpected 2:2 degree, don’t panic. Use some of these ideas and you will be just fine.
1. Check Grad Scheme Requirements
Your degree class might matter if you choose to pursue a graduate scheme. The impact will depend on whether you have already secured a role, and which sector you are looking for.
If you have already secured a role, check out the result requirements. If the scheme demands a 2:1 or higher, then the first thing to do is to be honest and call the recruiter direct. Having worked in graduate recruitment myself, I have seen the heartbreaking situation where a grad scheme offer was withdrawn not because a candidate achieved a 2:2, but because he lied to hide this result, and was ultimately revealed. The prospect of a trusting employment relationship was gone, and the candidate could not proceed with the scheme.
If you have not yet secured a position, then you will find that some schemes ask for a 2:1 or higher as a prerequisite. If you have special circumstances that influenced your outcome, you might choose to talk to the recruiting team and explain. Graduate recruiters are humans and may be able to offer some flexibility - although this is more likely in smaller or less competitive schemes. Otherwise, look for schemes which do not place a strict class degree demand. They do exist and can still be a great kickstart to your career.
2. Take an Alternative Route
If graduate schemes do not appeal, then you may find that your class degree has no bearing on your future employment at all. Most positions which recruit for graduates are looking for the breadth of skills and experience afforded by a university education, rather than a specific subject or result.
Look for entry level roles in the field of your choice, and once in employment, make efforts to join an internal development programme. Many larger businesses offer internal development options that fast stream candidates exactly as a grad scheme might, which are open to employees who might not fit the graduate programme requirements.
3. Get Some Higher Qualifications
Depending on the sort of role you are interested in, getting some additional qualifications might help not only your employment prospects, but your confidence. Studying for an industry exam and achieving membership of the relevant professional body, for example, might give you more of a foot up the career ladder than a 2:1 degree ever could. Such professional qualifications can be studied part time in the evenings, and may even be sponsored in full or part by an employer, allowing you to earn whilst you learn.
4. Understand What You Bring to The Party
Receiving a 2:2 degree class, especially if you expected higher, can be a confidence killer. Do not let it end your employment chances, but focus instead on what you do bring to the party. Identify your personal strengths, and get interview practice to improve your confidence in conversation. Do work experience, internships or undertake volunteer work to boost your resume. By feeling more confident in your own abilities, you will achieve more in interviews and raise your chances of finding the position you want.
5. Remember, This Too Shall Pass
And here, I speak from experience. As a- these days, rather proud- holder of a 2:2 degree myself, I can promise you, the concerns you have right now will pass. If you miss out on the grad scheme you want, find a different way to get started in your career journey. Some areas, such as retail management, value personality, hard work and leadership capabilities far more than degree class, and changing industries at a later stage is always possible.
Grad schemes only last a couple of years, and with determination and hard work, you can score an entry level role and move forward under your own steam in that time. Have flexibility about your plans, and there is no reason your degree class should define you or limit your success in any way.
The graduate jobs market is incredibly tough, but there are always options for candidates who are determined and flexible- regardless of the class of their degree. Career paths are rarely truly linear, and a modern career journey can take many twists and turns. If you think broadly about what you want from your career, and are prepared to take some risks and push yourself, there are always opportunities there. Build your confidence, understand your personal skills and values, and find your own route to a successful career.
Are you a 2:2 degree holder? Do you have any personal job hunting tips? Share with us your experiences in the comments section below.