I got a 2.2 – have I just torpedoed my chances of getting a job?

With exam results looming I think this is a good time to revisit this popular topic.
You would be forgiven for thinking that unless you got a 2.1 degree or higher you can kiss your hopes of a half decent graduate job goodbye.  Just about every recruiter on the graduate milkround claims to set a 2.1 as their minimum standard.  So what do you do when you get a 2.2?

Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst!

Firstly let’s put it this 2.1/2.2 divide in context.  A large part of it is an employer ego thing.  Very few graduate recruiters will admit to seeking out graduates with a 2.2 degree – the SHAME of it all – having to resort to graduates with a 2.2.  Well get over yourselves employers.  We know that they do take graduates with 2.2 degrees but they make them work a little bit harder for it.  So if you end up with a 2.2 and are feeling like your job prospects have just got very bleak (often over 1 or 2 measly % ) read on for some hope.

1. Believe in yourself – don’t give up before you even start looking
Of course it is not a fact that all those with a 2.2. degree will not be able to do a job as well as those with a 2.1 degree – so don’t start believing the hype.  Screening by grade is an efficient way for employers who receive 100’s of applications to cut down the numbers they interview – it does NOT mean that you can’t do the job.
2. Change the way you look for a job.
If you know that most high profile milkround employers will screen for your degree grade on your application form or CV, then spread the net for where you look for a job.  You have a lot more to offer than a few numbers (2.1 or 2.2) so find some employers who will listen
3. Network, network, network
Do your own research about what it happening in your preferred industry.  Who are the players?  What companies are growing?  Chances are most of them will employ a small amount of focused, motivated graduates each year.  Can you get anyone to introduce you to someone in one of those companies – even just for a 5 minute chat about what is happening in the industry.   Use LinkedIn to track down contacts with some connection to you.  That could lead to more opportunities, or, at the very least – some advice about what you should do next to progress your job search. Not many people will ask whether or not you have a 2.1 or 2.2 before they agree to chat with you for 5 minutes!
4. Be ready to impress
Prepare a strong answer to the Tell Me About Yourself question .  Have it ready to go whenever you meet someone who may be able to give you advice on where to look for jobs.  Focus on your education, your strengths, your skills and what you could contribute to a company.  Tell them you have a degree in Business Studies and Marketing , that you thoroughly enjoyed your course, show enthusiasm  and mention a project you completed that may be of relevance to them. Whether you got a 2.1 or 2.2 will become irrelevant when you are selling yourself to potential  contacts by showing them what you can do for their business.
5.  Your CV – accentuate the POSITIVE
So you didn’t get a 2.1 overall.  But maybe you did some interesting projects that achieved a 2.1 – put those on your CV and make sure to list the modules where you got 2.1′s or even better.  Your CV is a sales document – make sure you are telling them about the good stuff!
Sinead is a career management expert and provides advice on all aspects of Career Management including Job Search skills and Networking.  Contact her now for a free initial consultation.

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