What to do if you get a 2:2
A university degree at any level is something to be extremely proud of, but what if you're disappointed with your 2:2? Don't sweat!
It'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, it's natural to feel a bit deflated.
However, we're here to tell you that graduating with a Desmond (Tutu, get it?) is far from 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 could come down to 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 or lower - including J.K. Rowling, David Dimbleby, Bear Grylls and even our very own Student Finance Expert, Jake Butler!
We're here to put your mind at ease, answer any questions you might have, and share some tips on how to move forward.
Is a 2:2 worth anything?
Do employers care if you get below a 2:1?
It's true that many jobs have a minimum degree requirement of a 2:1, but it's not the case for every employer - and there are signs that this is becoming less and less important.
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 graduate scheme entry requirements, and now favour using their own internal assessments to work out if you're a good fit.
Companies which hire graduates with a 2:2
- Arcadia (owner of brands including Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins and Burton)
- British Army, RAF, Navy and MI5
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car
- Jaguar Land Rover
- Network Rail
- Procter & Gamble (owner of brands including Always, Fairy, Gillette and Oral-B)
Can you still apply for jobs that ask for a 2:1 if you got a 2:2?
If a 2:1 or above is a strict requirement, don't apply without reaching out to the employer first. You don't want to spend hours compiling the perfect application, only to have the HR department chuck it in the bin as soon as they see you haven't met their criteria!
By contacting them first and explaining your situation, you may be able to establish whether or not everything on the list of criteria is absolutely necessary or not.
In reality, it's often the case that the section of a job listing marked "Only apply if you..." is just a wish-list, with the employer well aware that most applicants won't meet 100% of the requirements.
You might find that getting in touch early doors gets you nowhere, but there's a chance that they'll be impressed with you taking the initiative and ask you to email your CV and covering letter to them directly. If so, you'll already be above other (even first class degree-holding!) candidates.
If you're unable to contact the employer first, you could instead mention very early on in your CV/ cover letter that although you have graduated with a 2:2, you frequently received 2:1s and firsts for coursework and presentations (assuming that's true, of course!).
This will also inadvertently imply that you were close to getting a 2:1, without you having to make any excuses.
How to get a job with a 2:2
Your next step is simple: get thinking about what your plans are!
There are so many options that will launch 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!
Look for graduate jobs that accept 2:2s
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 you won't even have to compromise on quality.
We're talking about opportunities with some serious players (as mentioned above, some huge companies accept graduates with a 2:2).
It's just a matter of looking a bit harder! A quick Google search for terms like 'graduate jobs 2:2 degree' will bring up a ton of job search sites which have individual search pages specifically to meet this criteria.
Alternatively, check out our list of graduate scheme deadlines for a list of all the major grad schemes in the UK (as well as where to get more details).
Apply to work at a startup
2016 was a record-breaking year for startups, with an unprecedented 660,000 new companies being established over the course of the year - and the figures show no sign of slowing down, which is great news for graduates.
Startups tend to focus way more on you as an individual as opposed to a number that ticks all the right boxes. As such, you should try to be personable and get in touch with startups directly to wow them with your story.
If you can show them that you've got what they're looking for, they probably won't care what level of degree you've got.
Remember that the likes of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and even Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of university before moving on to build their empires. Does that make them unemployable? Didn't think so!
Start a business
How 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, imagine what you could do with a 2:2!
Obviously this route can take time, but why not try a few of our small business ideas that you can start on your own and 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.
Do an internship
A good way to get your foot in the door of a company you're keen to work with is to enquire about an internship. If successful, you can then work at really wowing them in person rather than on paper.
Admittedly some companies do set degree level barriers for internships, but there's no doubt that it's much easier to call up and talk yourself into an internship than a paid position.
It's worth mentioning that we wouldn't advise taking on any internship that offers no reimbursement at all.
Pimp up your CV
Your degree qualifications might seem like the most important thing on your CV, but they only take up one small line. Once an employer has read through all your great experience, those qualifications can be quickly forgotten about!
Focus on making your CV sparkle with the kind of 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.
And, depending on the job at hand, you could even opt for a quirky creative CV that'll wow them at first sight!
Do a postgraduate degree
You might be disappointed with your 2:2 grade, but did you find that you actually really enjoyed university? If so, you really shouldn't rule out the possibility of postgraduate study.
You might think that you need to be an academic high-flyer with first class honours to be considered for postgraduate study, but this isn't always the case.
If you've made a good impression and the university know you're a hard worker, there's a chance they'll waive the entry requirements and let you on board.
Not only this, but the government now offers substantial Master's loans to students on postgraduate degrees.
Use your contacts as a way in
Now 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 (a recommendation by someone who already works at the company) 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 completed a degree, and that's 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've 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!