The end is nigh and life beyond ‘the bubble’ beckons. You should be fired up with excitement but your results weren’t quite what you’d hoped. Instead of getting that magic you’ve got the dreaded ‘Desmond’. Stop right there. Getting a 2:2 may feel like end of the world but it really isn’t. Yes, you may need to stop and take stock of your situation, but it’s certainly not game over. Now is the time to put yourself back in the driving seat and start thinking about plan B. And if that doesn’t work, you can always move on to plan C. Flexibility and resilience are key to future career success, so start as you mean to go on.
Practical steps to get you moving:
- You may want to consider whether it might be appropriate to appeal your final degree classification. You will need to look carefully at the precise regulations of your institution to see if there is any chance that you may have grounds. Here at Warwick an appeal is possible only in very restricted circumstances. Even if you think you do have grounds for appeal don’t assume that it will be successful – talk through your options with your personal tutor and/or senior tutor. Act quickly and be hopeful – but realistic.
- Do you have a conditional offer for a job? If so, you need to ring the company and let them know the situation. There may be no room for manoeuvre, but if you really impressed at interview they may choose to affirm the job offer. Some organisations deal with cases on their individual merits, whereas others operate a blanket policy of “no 2:1, no offer”. You won’t know until you try, so ring now and make your case.
- Don’t panic! There are options that still open to you. It may feel as though the 2:1 threshold restricts your access to many of the UK graduate schemes, but this is by no means all. We have a comprehensive list on our website of companies prepared to accept a 2.2 (http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/scs/findingajob/researching/companies_2.2.pdf) If closing dates have passed you can apply for them in the next graduate recruitment cycle. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it will give you time to re-group and re-energise before you start the job application process.
- It’s easy to get caught up in the media hype and assume graduate schemes are synonymous with ‘graduate jobs’. Well, it may come as a surprise to learn that the big graduate recruiters represent just a slice of the graduate market. Some of the main players have strong brand and high campus visibility, but there are plenty of great opportunities within the SME sector. And the really good news is that many of the smaller companies will operate more flexible entry requirements.
- Why not book an appointment and talk your options over with a Careers Consultant. We’re not emotionally invested in the decision (which may not be true of parents and friends) and will view things from an impartial and neutral perspective. It might help to bounce some ideas around, safe in the knowledge anything you say is entirely confidential. Don’t worry if you live outside the local area: we can offer Skype and telephone appointments and are here throughout the summer.
- You may be tempted to consider postgraduate study as a means of ‘compensating’ for your degree classification or as a way to buy yourself some thinking – and planning – time before you enter the job market. Postgraduate study is a worthwhile option, but only as part of a considered career plan. It isn’t something you should consider as a default measure, and you be may struggle to convince prospective employers of the benefits when it comes to future applications. Think hard before you commit time and money to further study. Do some research and gather all the information you can before making a final decision.
- Get yourself job ready by updating your CV and plugging any potential gaps. Consider how well your CV highlights your skills – both soft and technical. If you can afford to tread water for a month or so, why not join a temping agency and brush up on your office skills – you might be surprised just how valuable these prove to be. Check out our recent blog post on ‘3 skills graduates need to succeed‘ and consider what else you can do to entice prospective employers.
- Start thinking about your online brand and build a professional profile that reflects your career aspirations. Now is the time to work on your LinkedIn profile and ensure that all your (publicly viewable!) social media platforms convey the right message. To cast your job search net as wide as possible, you’ll need to build and extend your professional network, and the online space is the best place to start. You might want to think about joining professional associations if you have a sector in mind – some of these will arrange networking events and are a great source of insider information.
All is not lost
Try to put all of this into perspective: remember, this is the beginning – not the end – of your career. By all means nurse your disappointment, but then make a conscious effort to draw a line and start looking forward. Your hopes of working for a particular company may have been dashed in the short-term, but with time and some experience behind you there’s every chance of applying again (perhaps for a better role!) at some point in the future.