How to get a graduate job with a 2:2 undergraduate degree

Updated 13 September 2022

Some adverts for graduate jobs ask for applicants to have a university degree with a 2:1 result. There are plenty of interesting and rewarding jobs you can get if you graduate with a 2:2. Knowing what your options are if you're looking for a graduate job and how to make a great impression when you apply makes it easier to find a career you're passionate about. In this article, we explain how to get a graduate job with a 2:2 undergraduate degree and outline other options that are available.

How to get a graduate job with a 2:2

After graduating, you may wonder how to get a graduate job with a 2:2. There are various steps you can take to get a job that interests you. It's often useful to research and think carefully about all of your options, including possibilities that you may be considering for the first time. Try to be open-minded about new opportunities that might be different to what you originally planned and consider how you could benefit from pursuing them. To find a rewarding position in a field you're interested in, follow the steps below:

1. Focus on your strengths

Rather than focusing on your academic results, it's helpful to emphasise your other strengths when you're applying for jobs. This could include past relevant work experience or soft skills and transferrable skills. It can be helpful to spend time thinking about what your strengths are as an individual and then making sure that you communicate these points in your job application, especially if the job description mentions particular attributes you possess. Demonstrating your strengths shows that you're a good candidate for the role regardless of your degree result.

Related: How to create an effective graduate CV

2. Talk about your skills

It's helpful to think about the relevant skills you have from either past work experience or your studies and how they can help you to do the job you're applying for. When you apply for a job, discuss the relevant skills you have, especially if they're things the employer is looking for. Having the right skills for a job is sometimes more of a priority than the result of your degree because it shows you're capable of fulfilling the role's requirements.

3. Emphasise relevant work experience

If you have any work experience that's relevant to the role you're applying for, it's also useful to make this clear on your application and describe how it may benefit you. This could be part-time employment, voluntary work or internships. Having relevant work experience shows that you have existing knowledge that could be useful in the job, potentially making you more attractive to employers.

Related: How to write work experience on a CV (tips and example)

4. Have pride in your degree

Taking pride in your degree can make you feel more confident and relaxed when you apply for work or attend interviews. It's useful to remember that you successfully achieved a degree, regardless of the final result. This shows your commitment and capability and that you can perform well in a career that you enjoy. You also have other skills and attributes that make you a desirable employee, and these are just as relevant as your undergraduate degree.

5. Be confident

Even if you find your job search challenging at times, be confident that you can find a good opportunity that suits you. Be thorough when you're looking for a job, apply for the roles that are right for you and prepare carefully for attending a job interview. You can find a graduate role with any result from an undergraduate degree. If you're finding your job search difficult, remember that there are other opportunities aside from paid work that you can find and be successful in, which may lead to future employment.

What is a 2:2 degree?

A 2:2 degree is an undergraduate degree classification from universities. A 2:2 is a lower second class degree. If this is your degree result, it's important to remember that this still means you passed your degree and that it demonstrates knowledge in your chosen subject.

Other options if you have a 2:2

Finding a graduate job can be tough at times, and there are other options you might consider if you want to gain experience. Alongside searching for paid employment, it's useful to think about whether any of these other options are suitable for you. Pursuing different options can be helpful for applying for other jobs in the future and can make your CV stand out. They include:

Look at graduate schemes

Graduate schemes often accept applicants with a 2:2 degree. These programmes provide work-based training and usually involve working across different areas of the business to gain varied experience. You're likely to also receive training and mentoring from professionals. You could consider applying to a graduate scheme that's relevant to your field. These schemes give you valuable experience and can help you progress into a different role.

Related: What are the benefits of a graduate scheme?

Consider internships

Internships or volunteer work can be a great alternative to paid work after graduation. Internships give you the chance to learn more about a particular job or industry and provide an opportunity to make valuable professional contacts. You gain experience and can sometimes work on a part-time or short-term basis. This means that you may still have time to continue your job search.

Look at apprenticeships

An apprenticeship is another way to learn and gain experience. If you do an apprenticeship, you receive a qualification, paid work experience and get the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge in a role you want to do. The duration of an apprenticeship can vary, but they're a useful way to enter an industry that's particularly competitive or difficult to find work in. Some apprenticeships are primarily for 16-18 year-olds, but there are many that you can apply for at any age.

Related: 10 best-paid apprenticeships and job opportunities resulting from apprenticeships

Consider postgraduate study

Some industries and jobs require postgraduate qualifications and weigh them more highly than the outcome of your undergraduate degree. If your degree is a 2:2, further study might be beneficial. If you're already certain about the job you want to do, you can research postgraduate courses to find relevant options and apply for the ones that can help you the most. Many postgraduate courses last for only one year, meaning you could have access to many more opportunities after a short amount of time.

Start your own business

For some people, starting your own business is a realistic alternative to finding a paid job. It usually takes some time, hard work and investment for your business to become a success, but it can be the start of a successful and enjoyable career. Even if you only choose to run a business for a short period of time or as a side business whilst you work, the experience you gain doing this also makes you attractive to employers. It also demonstrates that your motivation, resilience and determination.

Applying for jobs that ask for a 2:1

Many job adverts ask for candidates to have at least a 2:1, but if it's a good opportunity, you might want to apply for these jobs regardless. If the advert explicitly states that the company is only considering candidates who meet the requirements, it might be better to continue looking for other jobs rather than applying. It's important to read the job description carefully. If the employer lists a 2:1 as something they desire rather than being essential, it might still be worthwhile to apply for the job.

If you apply to an employer who would prefer a 2:1, aim for the rest of your application to show your strengths and skills and demonstrate why you're a good choice for the role. A well-written and carefully thought out application helps you to stand out and can give you an advantage, regardless of what your degree result is.

Jobs you can do with a 2:2

There's a range of jobs that you can do with a 2:2. It's helpful to think about what type of work your undergraduate degree best suits and what your interests are. This might mean choosing a career path that's different to what you wanted to do originally. Regardless of your field of study, almost every industry has opportunities for graduates who have a 2:2. Some examples of jobs you can do with this grade are:

  • police officer

  • accountant

  • technical writer

  • teaching assistant

  • copywriter

  • recruitment consultant

  • retail management

  • marketing assistant


  • How to find graduate internships (plus their benefits)

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