What to do if You’ve Graduated With a 2:2

After all the hard work, opening your results to find out you’ve got a 2:2 (or “a Desmond”, after King’s most famous son) can be a dispiriting moment. Part of that disappointment can come from the assumption that it will also have dire knock on effects for your career, but in reality there’s no reason you can’t have a very successful career with a 2:2.

But employers won’t want someone with a 2:2, right?

Wrong! While you’ll come across graduate schemes and jobs which require a 2:1, you’ll probably be surprised by quite how many employers are happy to hear from candidates with a 2:2. Deloitte, EY, Jaguar Land Rover, HMRC and the NHS are just a few examples of large graduate employers with positions open to those with a 2:2, and you’ll also find this is the case for a lot of roles advertised in the public sector and with SMEs (who make up over 60% of the roles in the UK.)

This is increasingly becoming the case, with employers not wanting to rule out capable candidates who might have a wealth of good experience on account of their grade. So if you do have that experience in addition to your degree, then contrary to what you might have initially thought, you might be in a better position than someone with a 1st or 2:1 but no experience!

TargetJobs have a useful reference list of companies and sectors who hire graduates with a 2:2 in this blog post.

Explaining your 2:2 and networking

Was there a reason outside of your control that contributed to you getting to a 2:2? Get in touch with employers and explain this – they might be sympathetic and take your application even if it’s advertised as needing a 2:1 or above. Similarly, if you see a role that’s advertised that you think you’d be perfect for in every respect apart from the degree classification, contact the employer and explain why you’re a good candidate, particularly if the role advertised is with a smaller organisation. Networking with employers at events or online is also a good strategy. If they’ve made a connection with you in the past, they may be more likely to overlook your grade.

It’s also worth checking how strong the requirement for a 2:1 or above is. Is it listed as a “required/essential” quality, or just a “preferable” one? If it’s the latter, there’s absolutely nothing to stop you from being a strong candidate.

Different paths forward

There will be some employers, especially those who run formal graduate schemes, who insist on a 2:1, and as a result you may find that getting into your chosen area takes a bit longer. But even if the employer you had your eye on is for now out of the picture, that doesn’t mean a career in that field is gone.

If this is the case, think about different paths forward. Instead of going straight into a graduate scheme, think about gaining some work experience in a related area or in a different one where you’ll still be able to pick up the skills required. This may allow you to put in an application for a more senior role with the organisation in the future, bypassing the graduate roles and degree requirements altogether.

For further reading, our recent blog post on what to do after you’ve graduated may help you think about your next steps, 2:2 or not.

Picture of Desmond Tutu by Joshua Wanyama and shared under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 license.