career development / Job market

You got a 2:2 in 2021…

Ok, you are graduating into a pandemic and on top of that your worst fear has been realised. Instead of getting that magic 2.1 you were awarded a 2.2. Suddenly the uncertainties just increased and getting a graduate job seems to melting away before your eyes. OK, stop right there! Getting a 2:2 may feel like end of the world but it isn’t. Yes, you need to stop and take stock of your situation, but it’s certainly not all over. You have your degree! According to Graduate Labour market expert (and Warwick Alumni) Charlie Ball it is the unqualified that suffer the most in an economic downturn.

Use the University Careers Service. It is what we are here for and if you don’t know what you want to do next you can still talk to us. You have access to our services for up to 2 years after graduation. We can help you work out what it is you want to do and how you are going to achieve it. We are impartial (which may not be true of parents and friends) and view things from a neutral perspective. You will be able to bounce ideas around, safe in the knowledge anything you say is entirely confidential. We offer 1/1 careers appointments over Teams so please contact us. Search our resources such as our website.

You are going to get employed but you may need to work harder and make more applications, but being focused and pro-active will help you to get there. This is not going away so meet the challenge head on. 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. Act quickly and be hopeful – but stay realistic.

What to do next:

Consider the variety of options…

Don’t get caught up in the media hype and assume ‘graduate schemes’ is equal to ‘graduate jobs’. It isn’t the case. Big recruiters who use these training schemes are just a tiny slice of the graduate market. The main players have strong brand and high campus/online visibility so you are more aware of them. Yet there are plenty of opportunities within Small to Medium Sized companies (SME’s). 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 true. At Warwick we have a comprehensive list on of companies prepared to accept a 2.2. If closing dates have passed you can apply for them in the next graduate recruitment cycle. This will give you time to re-group and focus before you start the job application process.

  • Consider the start-up company option, or even your own business venture. Check out the Enterprise team for help and advice on setting up. Look for tips and ideas from people who have set up their businesses and consider Angel Investors who can help but you will need a strong business plan to make it work.
  • Do you have a conditional offer for a job?  Ok, ring the company and let them know the situation. There may be room for manoeuvre, especially if you really impressed at interview/assessment centre. Can they still take you? 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.
  • Can you build up your work experience? Trying out and reaching out to new contacts and building your network helps. So, start with LinkedIn, start with existing contacts and when events come up virtually or physically get involved.
  • Avoid considering postgraduate study to ‘compensate’ for your 2.2. 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 reflex, you could struggle to convince prospective employers of the benefits when it comes to future applications. Do your research and gather all the information before making a final decision. You will need to demonstrate work experience and core soft skills to land that job eventually
  • Get yourself job ready by updating your CV and plugging any potential skills or work gaps. Does your CV highlights your skills – both soft and technical. Get the CV checked by the Job Search Advisers and look at our YouTube channel for help. Have a clear career aim and demonstrate your unique selling points are. Start thinking about your online brand and build a professional LinkedIn profile that reflects your career aspirations.  Can you join any professional associations? These often 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 be disappointed, but you need to accept it and move on. 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.

Good luck

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