You see a job vacancy, you read the description and you’re thinking, “this sounds perfect for me!”
But then you reach the end of the post and see ‘minimum degree requirement 2:1’. You exhale, deflated because you have a 2:2. Does this situation sound familiar? It definitely does to me.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Zac, I am the founder of GradTouch and I got a 2:2 from Durham University. I have put together this helpful list of tips to help other people who did not get a 2:1 find a graduate job.
1. Don't hide it!
When you put together your CV, do not list your university education as 'Philosophy degree, Durham University' or 'Second Class Honours degree from Durham University'.
This is the first mistake most people make, and it will often really grind on the person reading your CV. If you got a 2:2 just state it from the beginning, don't try and hide it by implying you may have got a 2:1.
At some point along the application process you will have to state your degree mark, so you may as well be upfront about it. Not only are you inadvertently highlighting the fact you didn't get a 2:1 by attempting to mask it, but it will appear as if you are actually ashamed of your degree.
2. Understand why you got the mark you did
Now, some people have genuine mitigating circumstances, some simply couldn't hack it and others (like) just didn't do enough work. If you fall into the first category, please make sure you have some proof from your university and include this where appropriate in any application forms and on your CV. If you don't have proof then 99% of the time you will fall into the other two categories.
If you couldn't hack it then be honest: you may have chosen the wrong course, or perhaps you just reached your academic peak. Whatever the reason, you need to identify and come to terms with it.
At the beginning I blamed my lecturer, my dissertation leader and even the cleaner of my dorm room for ruining a page of notes. One of the strongest attributes anyone can have is self-reflection. You will need to show, to any potential employer, that you recognise the problem and have identified what you have learnt and what you would do differently. It's all about displaying growth.
3. Realise that you are not just your degree
Emphasise to your potential employer that you have learnt, accomplished and participated in many activities outside of your academic studies. These skills and experiences are just as important as academic grades, so make sure you demonstrate this and talk loudly about the things you did achieve.
4. Be ruthlessly determined
It is very easy to feel deflated when looking for a graduate job. Many will request a 2:1 minimum, however, you have nothing to lose if you do apply for jobs requesting this grade minimum. They can only say no!
Sometimes it is worth contacting recruiters to explain why you should be put forward despite your degree grade. This will demonstrate your passion and determination for the role and separate you from the other candidates who are applying. You can also utilise social media to interact with potential employers and build a rapport. If you network with people and build up business contacts then your relationships will hopefully outweigh grade minimums and restrictions.
The key is to not let job rejections get you down and just keep plugging away. You will get there in the end.
5. Don’t Compromise
You don’t have to settle into a job you don’t want just because you have a 2:2. What you ultimately have to remember is that getting a 2:2 will not stop you from doing what you want to do, it may just require a longer or more elaborate route to that end goal - the point is, a 2:2 opens more doors than it closes, work hard and you'll get the career you want.