The idea of graduating and embracing the changes ahead can feel exciting but equally overwhelming, especially if you have not got the degree class you were hoping for. You have been studying in the middle of a global pandemic and your lives have been affected in so many ways. You have had to complete your studies online and faced other career challenges like lack of placements or work experience. Some of you may not achieve the grades you were hoping for, and you may be graduating with a 2:2 (or lower) degree classification.
But let’s put things in perspective. After more than a year of unimaginable obstacles, you can now say “I did it”. You will be getting your degree from the UWTSD this summer, and this is a great achievement, whatever your grade results!
Your degree classification is only part of the story of your time at university, and you should be confident that there is something out there for you, besides a lower degree grade than expected. In fact, the most widely cited consideration among graduate recruiters when selecting recruits, is that “candidates can demonstrate the attitudes and aptitudes that will enable them to be effective in the workplace” (CBI Education and Skills Survey 2019). Irrespective of the type of graduate job that you are applying for, most employers will expect you to present a well-rounded graduate profile, demonstrating a high level of employability; not just from your academic results, but from your work experience, extra-curriculum activities, part-time jobs, and other life experiences.
It is the case that many organisations are changing their recruitment approach to degree qualifications; many large graduate employers have designed more flexible recruitment criteria and are keen to accept graduates with a 2:2. These include employers in the Public Sector (police forces or HMRC), Finance (EY or Caitlin Group) or Retail (Tesco and Morrisons) just to name a few. But many smaller size employers will most likely carry out recruitment based on your competencies and abilities, and may never ask you about your degree grades.
If you want to find out more about the graduate employers that are open to applications from graduates with a 2:2 read this article from TARGET Jobs ‘How to job hunt if you get a 2:2 when you graduate’ but in the meantime, make sure to build upon your experience during the summer and gather as much evidence as possible of your skills in action. Maybe consider a graduate internship; they can be a great way to earn, make contacts and gain experience. Watch out for GOWales (eligibility applies) and Inspiring Interns for different internships and placement opportunities.
When planning to secure a graduate level job with a 2:2, it may help to create a plan of action as a framework for your job-hunting approach. While you need to take stock of your situation, you also need to be flexible and take one step at a time. Having a list of to-dos could make working through this transitional process easier, so we have put together this Careers Checklist for Life after Graduating with a 2:2. with links to useful career management activities that can be found in the University’s Careers platform ABI247. This is by no means a definitive list, but it can help you navigate this next stage of your career journey.
Remember, your 2:2 degree is just the beginning of your next adventure, so stay positive, keep moving forward and get in touch with the University’s Careers Service team if you need help- www.uwtsd.ac.uk/careers/ And guess what? If you have got a 2:2 you are not alone. There are many amazing people who graduated with a 2:2 who went on to do amazing things with their lives, like Bear Grylls, Chris Hoy or Mel Giedroyc.
Take a deep breath and think of the bigger picture: you have a degree! Graduating is a massive accomplishment, regardless of your final grades. Most likely you are not the same person who started their studies some years ago; you have most certainly developed personally, intellectually, and professionally. You have been through a developmental journey that has made you more employable.
Which direction you will take from here will be partly based on your individual identity, your situation, your resilience, and your career aspirations. One of the strongest career attributes you can have is self-awareness; this is about being able to talk about your strengths and growth. The skills and experiences you have developed during your time at university are just as important as your academic grades. You will need to show to any potential employer, that besides your grades you can bring some crucial strengths to the table.
Now that you have accomplished the goal of graduating, it is time to plan your graduate job search. If you are looking for a graduate level job, you will be pleased to know that many employers employ graduates with a 2:2.
The more people you talk to about your career goals and areas of interest, the better prepared you will be for your next move. So, get out there and seek out opportunities to network and talk with professionals who work in areas that interest you.
One of your top priorities after completing your degree is to know how to market yourself to employers and (re)define your professional (graduate) brand.
The UWTSD Careers Service is here to help! We can help you develop your career management skills and equip you with everything you need to transition to a post-graduation career. We can help with queries about understanding your career options and making sound decisions; finding and getting quality work experience and graduate level jobs; understanding your Postgraduate options; starting your own business; writing CVs, applications, and personal statements or preparing for interviews & assessment centres