Finding a Job

What to do if you get a 2.2 Degree or below

Getting a 2:2 or below isn’t the end of the world. Here’s how to overcome it!

If you graduated from uni with a Desmond (2.2), it’s easy to think that you’ve blown your chances of getting a great start on the career ladder.

With the majority graduate schemes asking for a 2:1 or above, even finding opportunities that you can apply for can be a bit of a daunting task.

The good news is though, it’s not all doom and gloom. You might have to work a bit harder and come up with more creative ways to get the job of your dreams, but it’s by no means out of your reach.

The important thing is that you take a proactive approach from day one and get out there to show the world that your degree classification is just a number on paper!

How to overcome disappointing grades

Apply for 2.2 graduate schemes/jobs

There are jobs out there for those that didn’t manage to get a 2.1 or above, you just need to know where to find them.

Graduate schemes – It’s quite rare to find a company with a “graduate scheme” that will look at any applications that have a 2.2 or below but they are out there.

Try checking our graduate employer directory where you can search for those that are looking for students with any degree or grade.

Graduate jobs – There are likely to be more “graduate roles” within smaller to medium sized businesses that do not require a 2.1 or above so this would be the best route to take (as opposed to applying for the coveted schemes).

We’ve got more advice on where you can find a non graduate scheme job here.

Try an internship

They aren’t all like this

As you probably know, an internship is a temporary work placement. If you’re struggling to secure a permanent position, it could be a wise move.

You’ll get a foot in the door, the chance to prove yourself, and it’s pretty much a win-win situation for you and an employer.

Look for ones that are in the field you’re hoping to get into, and go out of your way to impress while you’re there.

If this sounds like the route that you want to read our ultimate guide to Internships. You never know what it might lead to!

Get some experience under your belt

Sitting around at home moping can be a tempting option when you’re battling with a tough job market and poorer grades than most of your peers, but it’s the worst thing you can do.

Having a bit of experience on your CV can make up for your academic results, and teach you some great skills for employability at the same time. Part-time work, freelancing and volunteering are all viable options.

Take up some extra-curricular activities

Extra CV hobbiesYour qualifications are only half of the picture and when yours aren’t as high as others you need to make up for it in different aspects. Unless you buried yourself under a pile of books in the library for the duration of your degree, you probably got involved in some activities that allowed you to flex your skills. If you didn’t, it’s never too late!

Consider taking up a sport, joining a club or pursuing something that’s interested you for ages but you’ve just never got round to doing anything about it. It’ll provide something different to talk about on applications and at interviews.

Consider further study

This one’s a little bit controversial, but pursuing post-grad study could be a way to cover over the fact that you didn’t do as well as you hoped in your degree.

Don’t just rush into this without careful consideration. Post-grad courses are often expensive and time consuming, and they’re even harder to do well in than undergraduate courses.

Use your contacts

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know! On paper your grades might not be all that impressive, but those who know you will know what your skills are and how much of an asset you could be to a business.

Ask around friends and family, and just let as many people know as possible that you’re looking for work. You never know who might own a business or have some information about recruitment drives coming up in their workplace.

Be realistic about what you apply for

If you’re applying for jobs that specify a 2:1, you’re probably wasting your time. The harsh reality is that your application will go in the bin without even being looked at (whether we agree with that or not).

If you see something that really stands out and you think you’d be great at the job, give them a call and explain the situation. You might find that after a chat with the person in charge, you’re invited to submit an application anyway. Otherwise, just cut your losses and move on.

You never know, if you went to an established university or gained a degree in a well respected subject then you may have a better chance.

Take inspiration from others

Some notable people graduated with a 2.2 or below. These include well known figures in the media and business world such as Carol Vorderman, Hugh Laurie, Christopher Hitchens and David Dimbleby.

If they can do it then there is no reason why you can’t.


Did you graduate from uni with lower grades than you expected? How have you managed to get ahead and show employers what you can do for them?

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