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What to do with a 2:2

Many students go to university with hopes of achieving a first or a 2.1. In reality this isn’t always possible but is by no means the end of the world. There are still lots of opportunities out there and good companies who are happy to employ graduates with a 2.2.

Image of a graduate

Don’t companies only want people with at least a 2.1?

Many people dream of working for a large blue-chip company. These companies often require a 2.1 minimum and only recruit around 20% of graduates; the rest are recruited by smaller companies who are more willing to view your application on other merits.

A recent survey by the Higher Education Statistics Agency had some surprising results – exactly the same percentage of those who obtained a 2.1 were in full-time employment six months after graduating, as those who got a 2.2.

In fact, some employers value the work experience on your CV more than the grades you have gained. “Many employers don’t insist on a 2.1 because they would rather have someone with a wide range of experiences on their CV. They’re looking for team workers with practical problem-solving and communication skills. Showing you can meet their criteria and providing evidence is what will really impress.” (Source: Guardian)

612webWith a 2.2 you need to be a little more flexible in your job search and look best to sell the skills that you have. An important factor is your ability to be pro-active; network with employers and show a positive attitude. This law graduate who got a 2.2 said “During my LPC, I took on the role of student rep and, while helping to organise a careers fair, I met the senior partner at Tuckers and talked to him about the passion I had developed for criminal law. The next week he contacted me to offer a work experience placement and, in that two weeks, I was able to prove myself.” (Source: Guardian)

Your personal skills are also important. Make sure you get involved with all of university life. Do some voluntary work, join a society, take part in clubs or start up your own small business. All these experiences help to shape you as an individual.

So, although you may find you are unable to get a place on your ideal graduate scheme, there are still plenty of companies that will consider those with a 2.2.  Once you’ve got your foot on the ladder and secured your first job after graduating it will become easier. In fact most companies will no longer ask what you got at university but will be far more impressed by your skills and abilities and focus less on your grades.

What graduate schemes can I apply for?

Some examples include:

What else can I do?

  • Use your contacts – Worked part-time before or during your studies? Use those contacts! They may be able to offer you a role as a graduate, or even your old job back, enabling you to develop your skills and earn some money whilst starting to climb the career ladder.
  • Find work in the SME Sector – Working for an Small and Medium-sized Enterprise can often offer you a more personal experience along with greater responsibility.
  • Start your own business – Have you got a unique business idea? Why not think about starting your own company? This is becoming a more popular choice for recent graduates struggling to find work in a tough labour market.

Where else can I find out about this?

Image of Katharine Littlefair

Katharine Littlefair is a Careers and Placements Officer in the Careers and Placements Service at the University of Hertfordshire

  1. 05/09/2013 at 08:25

    Keep this going please, great job!

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