The propaganda is that graduating from university is the first step to making the world your own; the world is your oyster. However, this idea can become stressful when you graduate with a “Desmond,” otherwise known as a 2:2. With big companies and popular postgraduate courses requiring a 2:1 and above, it's not surprising that students feel that it's game over at the age of 21. But there is no need to despair. The following steps will help you take control of your situation and find your success, even with a “Desmond”.
Self-reflection and honesty
Before you can begin planning what you should do next, it's important to do some self-reflection. Honest self-reflection is a skill that you will need to progress through life. Without it you will find yourself going in circles and stalling in making a plan of action. In short, you will be going nowhere fast. There are any number of reasons why you may have ended with a 2:2 as your final result. These reasons range from not enjoying your degree to not finding a healthy work-life balance. Whatever the reason, it's important, to be honest with yourself and to be prepared to be asked about it once you get that graduate interview.
Hiding your degree from any future applications is problematic in the long run. There are two key reasons why this is an issue. The first is being economical with the truth. I cannot stress enough how important integrity is to the hiring process. In any event, most companies check to see if your degree results are accurate. If you are found out, you are likely to be rejected, with any job offer being rescinded.
Developing your career capital
Getting through this self-reflection stage gives you the framework to put together a plan of action.
Look at what you have to offer. Most students are involved in one society or another, be it related to sports, social, the arts or politics. These extracurricular develop valuable transferable skills that you should highlight in your application. In many cases they are more desirable to an employer than just good academic grades. The same is true for work experience and internships. In short, extracurricular activities and internships can make up for the fact that you have not performed as well as you wanted to in your degree because, if packed well, they demonstrate what you can do and not simply the academic prowess that you have demonstarted. Do not to sell yourself short in these areas.
Do additional study is an effective way to bridge the “Desmond” gap and so make yourself more marketable; strengthen your career capital. This might be a masters or other postgraduate programmes. However, try not to make the same errors as per your degree. Study something that you find interesting and you believe you will work at. Consider also how useful the subject area would be to a future employer. Focus on doing well.
As with anything in life, having a clear plan that you execute increases your chance of succeeding. Gaining a 2:2 after three years at university can be daunting but is by no means disastrous if focus on building your career capital over time. No matter what your degree classification, a Douglas, Desmond, Billy or even a Geoff, the reality is that the rules of engagement in the workplace are significantly different than in the lecture theatre.