Jobs & Careers

What to do if you get a 2:2

A university degree at any level is something to be extremely proud of, but are you particularly disappointed in your 2:2? Don't sweat!
graduatesIt's all very fine and well for people to keep telling you a 2:2 is nothing to fret about, but if you didn't get the result you were gunning for then it's natural you'll be feeling a bit deflated.

However, we're here to tell you that graduating with a "Desmond" (Tutu, get it?) certainly isn't the end of the world! You've spent years applying yourself to your degree, and that's something to be proud of, no matter what result you're graduating with.

If you think about it, it's crazy that 95% of the world's graduates are split into just four grade brackets, and the difference between achieving one grade and another can be a matter of missing just one essay deadline!

The last few years have also seen many employers becoming more flexible on entry requirements for grad schemes (more on that later) and some of the world's most successful people graduated with a 2:2 (including, it just so happens, Save the Student's own Finance Expert, Jake!).

We're here to put your mind at ease, answer any questions you might have, and share some tips on how to move forward.

Need some help with your job search? Check out our tips for finding your perfect graduate job to get you started.

Important questions answered

Trees with question mark graffiti

Do employers care if I get below a 2:1?

It's true that many jobs make their minimum degree cut off at 2:1, but it's not the case for every employer and there are signs that this is becoming less important over time.

For example, the 'big four' accountancy firms (Deloitte, EY, PwC and KPMG) have all recently announced they're taking a much more flexible approach to grad scheme entry requirements, and now favour using their own internal assessments to work out if you're a correct fit.

Can I still apply for jobs that ask for a 2:1 if I got a 2:2?

If a 2:1 or above is a strict requirement, we wouldn't recommend that you spend time putting effort into an application only to have the HR department throw your CV in the bin at the first hurdle.

What we would recommend, however, is that you reach out to them before applying and explain your situation.

You might find this gets you nowhere, but there is a chance that they'll be impressed with you taking the initiative to get in touch and ask you to email your CV and covering letter to them directly – which is a step that will put you at an advantage above other (even first class degree-holding!) candidates.

Another option is to mention very early on in your CV that although you have graduated with a 2:2, you frequently received 2:1s and firsts for coursework and presentations. This will also inadvertently imply that you got a 2:2 due to mitigating circumstance, without you having to make any excuses.

Top tips: What to do next

So your next step is simple: Get thinking about what your plans are!

There are so many options you can try that will kickstart you into the right career, and some options will even put you at an advantage over some first class honours graduates.

Don't believe us? Read on to find out!

  1. Look for grad jobs that accept 2:2s

    Graduate Job
    You might think this tip is about as useful as telling you to get rich by digging for gold, but schemes and positions for graduates with a 2:2 do exist – and, we're talking about opportunities with some serious players – as mentioned above, even the 'big four' accountancy firms are letting go of high degree grade entry requirements.

    It's just a matter of looking a bit harder! A quick google search for terms like "Graduate jobs 2:2 degree" and you'll see that many of the job search aggrigators have individual search pages specifically to meet this criteria. Give it a bash!

  2. Apply at a startup

    start businessIn 2015, the number of new SMEs (small to medium enterprises) emerging on the UK work scene grew by 5%.

    Not only is this great news in that new interesting businesses are popping up across the UK, but it also means a much more flexible environment for new graduates.

    Startups tend to focus way more on you as an individual than a number that ticks all the right boxes – be personable, get in touch with startups directly and wow them with your story. They won't give a sausage about with level of degree you graduated with if you can show you've got spark.

    Remember that likes of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates dropped out of university before moving on to create Apple and Microsoft. Does that make them unemployable? Didn't think so!

  3. Start a business

    how to dress at workHow about taking the leap and starting a business of your own? If Steve Jobs and Bill Gates can do it with no degree at all…

    Obviously this option can take time, but why not try a few of our small business ideas that you can start on your own and you can take it from there – you might find you've got a real entrepreneurial spirit!

    Even if you decide not to move forward in the end, having a flutter in the small business world will look great when you mention it on your CV.

  4. Do an internship

    internA good way to get a foot in the door with a company you're keen to work with is to enquire about an internship so you can work at really wowing them once you're in there.

    Admittedly, some companies even set degree level barriers for internships, but it will be much easier to wangle your way in by getting someone on the phone than it would be for a fully paid position.

    It's worth mentioning that we wouldn't advise taking on any intership that offers no reimbursement at all.

  5. Pimp up your cv

    cvYour degree qualifications might seem like the most important thing on your CV, but in fact they only take up one small line, and can be quickly forgotten about once an employer reads through all your great experience.

    Focus on making your CV sparkle with extras that many first class grads might not even have. For example, try completing a free online course (some of which can be completed in just a couple of days), give freelancing a go if you're in a relevant field, or even do some volunteering with a charity.

    You'll be surprised by how much more this can matter to some employers than a number on a page!

  6. Do a postgrad

    happy-graduateYou might be disappointed with your 2:2 grade, but did you actually find you enjoyed university? If so, you really shouldn't rule out the idea of postgraduate study.

    You might think you need to be a particular academic high-flier with first class honours to be considered for postgraduate study, but this isn't always the case.

    If the university know you're a hard worker and you've made a good impression, they'll often waiver the entry requirements and let you on board.

    Not only this, but the government are offering loans of up to £10,000 to any UK students doing a Master's in 2016 for the first time ever – find out if you're eligible here.

  7. Use your contacts as a way in

    Hire me pleaseNow is the time to start thinking about anyone you know who works in the industry you want to get into. Pick up the phone, drop them an email, send them a message via carrier pigeon – whatever you need to get the word out there that you're fresh on the graduate market!

    Often you'll find that companies will let employee endorsement (aka people who already work for them recommending someone they know for a job) override any degree level requirements, so this should be top of your list.

Hopefully this guide has put your mind at ease a little and reminded you that regardless of your grade, you've just completely a degree and that is a major achievement!

Some of the most important qualities for the workplace – like motivation, being a self starter and knowing how to work well in a team as well as on your own – can't effectively be measured by a degree, and employers are beginning to realise this.

Your main aim now is to get yourself out there and show the post-uni world what you got!

If you have any questions or tips to share on how you moved forward after uni, we'd love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below, or drop us a line!

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