Results not what you hoped for? read on (Part 2)

Practical advice from Janet F.

There may be some practical things you need to do if your degree result isn’t what you hoped for:

Contact relevant people: If you’re holding an offer dependent upon a classification you didn’t achieve – take action and contact the employer/course provider as soon as possible. Explain any extenuating circumstances which may have affected your performance. They may have some flexibility. However, if not, then start to re-assess your future plans – explore opportunities with 2:2 or below in areas you’re interested in.

Re-assess your options: You may still want, and be able, to continue in your chosen career-direction. However, you may need to re-focus your CV, placing more emphasis on your experience and skills, and approach employers who are open to applications without a 2:1.

‘Don’t forget to highlight aspects of your degree that you did perform well in.  Even if your overall grade was a 2.2 or 3rd, you may have excelled in one aspect – which is what you’d like to use in your job – so shout about it!’

Opportunities with less than a 2:1: Many areas of the graduate job market are more interested in your experience than your degree result. This can apply in areas of the media, publishing, sales, creative industries, voluntary and charity sector, environmental sectors, and more – explore our resources on different occupational areas.

Many other areas of the graduate job market have a wide range of opportunities open to those with a 2:2, including (though not exclusively):

Consider different routes for getting in to your chosen career area: There’s always more than one way to get into a career. If your graduate scheme has fallen through, apply to smaller organisations to gain relevant experience, and apply again later as an experienced hire, (though you may also find that working in a smaller organisation suits you  – see below). Or look for different entry-level roles in your preferred organisation, make a good impression, and work your way up.

And do your research – use the information above in the section on Opportunities with less than a 2:1 to get started on tracking down opportunities you can apply to in your chosen field.

Look for opportunities with small and medium-sized companies (SMEs): SMEs employ 60% of the UK workforce, and account for over 99% of private sector business. There are great opportunities for early responsibility and career development, and many opportunities are non-specific about your degree classification. There are also opportunities for graduate internships with a range of different SMEs, via organisations such as Scotgrad and STEP – find out more via the Graduate Internship information on our website. Targetjobs has more information and advice on applying for work experience with a small employer

‘The biggest companies use a 2.1 as a crude filter, but thousands of smaller companies aren’t as concerned about grades as your ability to do the job and, crucially, to fit-in (there is less room to hide in a smaller organisation).  So look at smaller organisations.  Scotgrad can be a great place to start.’

Build up your work experience and your contacts in the sector you’re interested in: Develop your networking skills – online and in person – get insider knowledge and advice on sectors you’re interested in. Get started by reading our online advice on using social media and networking in person.

Thinking of doing further qualifications to supersede your undergraduate result? Think carefully before you apply for further study – will it enhance your employment chances, or just add to your financial burden? Many employers are more interested in relevant experience rather than further qualifications. If you are considering this route, use our Further study resources to find relevant courses and information on funding.

Use your Careers Service: You can use your Careers Service for 2 years after your course finishes – wherever you are. We offer Skype and telephone consultations, as well as in person. Use us whilst you can, to reassess your plans and get back on track. Your current set-backs may also be your new starting point and opportunity to reassess your priorities and direction.

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