July 12, 2019, by Leah Sharpe

Worried about getting a good job if you didn’t secure a 2:1?

By Christian Jameson-Warren, Employability Education Projects Officer

If you didn’t graduate with the grade you wanted then don’t worry, there are lots of reasons to be optimistic about your career prospects.   

Understand the big picture 

Graduate training schemes requiring at least a 2:1 actually represent a small amount of the total graduate labour market. Some employers are more flexible, including many well-known organisations (e.g. EY, HMRC, Jaguar Land Rover, Lloyds Banking Group) accepting a 2:2 on many of their training programmes. Lots of smaller companies offer immediate start jobs that you can apply for, with opportunities to train and develop.

There will be some variations between career paths, for example:

Creative sectors – the quality of your portfolio is essential regardless of your grade, and when done well may help considerably if your final grade is not as you’d hoped

Careers in IT and technology – consider looking at opportunities at organisations for whom IT is not their main business

In addition, if you achieved a third class degree you may feel excluded from many graduate opportunities, but it is still very possible to get a good job if you’re willing to look beyond the big graduate schemes. If a 2:1 is specifically needed for the industry you want to work in, consider researching alternative roles you can start in and then progress from.

Seeing yourself as a well-rounded candidate 

Many employers are putting more emphasis on what you do outside of studies (e.g. voluntary work, societies etc.) rather than just grades, as they want ‘well rounded’ employees. Make the most of these activities in applications, such as demonstrating competencies employers are looking for or explicitly highlighting the skills you developed on your CV. Many people have more skills and experience to offer an employer than they realise.

Mitigating circumstances 

Sometimes things in your life beyond your control can affect your final grade, such as illness, family circumstances, disability and others. There may be value in explaining these circumstances at some stage in the application process if you feel it would help. If you’re unsure, the Careers and Employability Service can help you with how to do this.  

Things change – don’t worry about getting the perfect job right away 

Over time, your interests and motivations will change. Technology and society changes will create new jobs and others will evolve. It is very likely you will change jobs several times early in your career – you do not need to have a ‘perfect’ job after graduation. 

Instead, it’s more important that regardless of how your initial career after graduation develops, you spend time investing in yourself. This could be taking on responsibilities, learning new skills, or building up a network of contacts for example. Which leads onto the next point. 

Consider upskilling in specific areas 

There are many free online courses you can do to gain specific skills employers want, such as coding. If relevant to your job goal, completing courses may strengthen your applications and also show an employer how motivated you are to work in that sector.  

Don’t rely purely on job adverts to find a job 

While some graduate opportunities can only be applied for through an online process, most jobs are found through networking. This is potentially a good way to find opportunities regardless of your final degree mark.

If you need help or advice on any of the areas mentioned in this blog, book an appointment with the Careers and Employability Service. Our experienced advisers are available for face-to-face discussions through regular drop-in sessions and one-to-one appointments.

Posted in Applying For JobsChoosing Your Career