So you got a 2:2 – what happens next?

It’s the time of year when degree results are announced and, amid all the celebrations, there are some of you for whom things may not have gone according to plan. It’s understandable to be disappointed if you did not get the classification you hoped for, but if you are worried about what this means for your job prospects, take heart, there are still plenty of options open to you.

1. Look for graduate schemes which accept 2:2s – and beyond!

Increasing numbers of graduate schemes do not require a 2:1 for you to be able to apply. This is a trend which extends across many sectors, so it is worth searching the opportunities out. See this article by Target Jobs for useful links to sector specific recommendations: Also bear in mind that only a minority of graduates end up on these large graduate schemes each year; the vacancies on MyCareer are one good starting point for a wider range of graduate opportunities.

2. Be positive about your achievements

In a 2017 CBI survey of employers, 90% considered it to be most important that graduates could articulate the attitudes and attributes they are looking for; only 65% put similar emphasis on your degree grade. Whatever your final grade, employers recognise that gaining a degree from Bristol is an achievement, and it is likely that you have developed skills such as research, analysis, persistence and time management along the way. It remains your job to prove it. Perhaps you achieved higher marks for particular modules? Perhaps you managed a number of additional responsibilities alongside your degree? Be sure to emphasise these.

3. Be prepared to talk to employers

There is nothing more demoralising than spending lots of time on applications which ask for a 2:1 only to be screened out by a computer algorithm. It’s important to be realistic in who you target, but it’s worth getting in touch with an employer requiring a 2:1 if:

  • you already have a job offer (the company has already invested time and money in you)
  • you have any genuine mitigating circumstances

Get in touch if you would like advice about how best to approach this.

4. Apply speculatively

Up to 70% of job vacancies are never formally advertised. Rather, they are filled by people who have already made themselves known to the company through speculative applications and/ or networking. By showing a level of interest in the company before they are officially recruiting, you can put yourself one step ahead of the competition.

5. Work your way up and gain experience

You can also prove you have the skills to do the job by taking on a graduate internship or placement. This offers hands-on experience which will look great on your CV, as well as offering an opportunity to impress. Search company websites and MyCareer to see what’s on offer or try our UoB Internship Scheme, which is open to graduates for start dates up to 6 months after graduation.

6. Work for a small business

Working for a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) or a start-up could be the perfect way to get your career moving. Small businesses place the emphasis on skills and work experience when recruiting as they need you to be able to make a contribution straight away and hit the ground running.

7. Think carefully before opting for a Masters

If you are applying for a Masters in the hope that it will negate having a 2:2, talk to the employers you’re interested in working for first. A Masters degree does not necessarily make you more employable in the way that relevant work experience can. Most recruiters will still use your undergraduate degree result for screening if you apply for a graduate scheme, so do your homework before you commit to further expense.

8. Take time to reflect – what do you really want to do?

Sometimes, not getting what you want offers an important opportunity to take a step back and reflect on other possibilities. Come in (or phone up) and talk to a Careers Adviser about what you can do with your skills, what you enjoy and what your next steps could be; there are more job roles out there than you can possibly imagine. You may decide to work for yourself, take a year out, travel or gain valuable experience before you throw yourself back into the graduate labour market and try again. Just remember that there are many ways in which you can add value to your CV and impress a potential employer without a 2:1 on your transcript.