You got a 2.2? It’s not a job disaster!

You would be forgiven for thinking that unless you get 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?

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 2.1s 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.



  1. Better believe 2.2 is NOT the end of the world. So far i have earned a decent living WITHOUT a degree at all.
    Moral – go for it and be yourself the degree is only one aspect of the person

    • Totally agree Andrew – we need to start trusting our own abilities and what we have to offer an employer.

  2. Christine

    I have just finished a four year degree in law in college and to be honest, I didn’t apply myself to study so have ended up with (probably) a 2.2 or less. The strange thing is I’m actually quite hard working when I’m employed. I have always worked through college and have completed an 8 month placement with a large firm. From all my places of employment I believe I would have excellent references… how do I go about getting a good job and get prospective employers to believe that I am hardworking when they see my college results which say otherwise?? Thanks for your help! And for the blog entry which gave me hope!

    • Hi there – thanks for your comments. If you think that your grades are not a true reflection of you then don’t let the first thing a prospective employer sees about you be your grades. Keep them off the CV. Sometimes you need to lead with yourself and your ability to network and not with your CV. I would imagine your placement employer couldn’t care less if you didn’t get a 2.1 because you have proved to them that you are up to the task. Ask your placement employer what advice they would give you now as you head out to look for a job. They may suggest some people you should speak to – possibly prospective employers. You have a “halo effect” created from your past employer – use it to your advantage! Best of luck.

  3. Christine

    Hi there! I contacted some of the people I had worked for during my placement and through that (somehow!) managed to get an interview for another firm. I got the job and start in the next week. While there’s no doubt I struck (very!) lucky, your advice was much appreciated when all around people were telling me how hopeless my situation was. Thanks a million for your help.

    • That’s fantastic news! Well done. You are a great example of the power of networking and believing in yourself. Good for you and best of luck in the new job

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