So you’ve done three years of countless essays, many sleepless nights, parties, friends, and the assembly of some of your most cherished memories. For the lucky few, job will be lined up and the transition will be seamless; but what of those who come out to a bewildering number of options, and what if you haven’t got all that it takes for that prestigious masters; what if you come out with a 2.2?
During my third year at Uni, everything fell apart. My health deteriorated, stress accumulated, and I scraped a pass. Fourth year was spent doing as much as I could to rectify this – but it still meant only a 2.2 overall. Now let’s make no mistake about this – I was never a student destined for a first – but it still felt like I hadn’t done as well as I should have. Heigh ho.
Now I am not alone in this – many other graduates face the same problems. Whining ‘but I got really ill’ will get nowhere. Employers are not into sob stories. So what does work? Here are a few of my top tips:
1. Don’t beat yourself up.
Clichéd, but very true. No amount of chastising yourself will change the result. What it will do is put people off you, it is remarkable how much self hatred can filter through to those around us. So don’t do it. Think about all your good qualities – your charm, good sense of humour, friendliness and great conversation. As soon as you acknowledge that you have these qualities, others will start to see them too!
2. Ask for advice
Use your careers centre. Most university careers centres are hugely underused. They could help you spruce up your CV, tell you about opportunities you would have never heard of otherwise or just help you think about what it really is you want to do next. Same goes for friends, relatives or even people you meet on a bus. You would be surprised by how much the most unlikely people have to offer – and it is up to you to listen to them.
3. Take a chance
Now this may sound ridiculous, but it is tried and tested. Honest! I have had at least two interviews by doing this. A lot of companies say that they only take graduates with a 2.1 or above – but why not surprise them? Show them your resilience, initiative and sheer chutzpah by applying anyway. And when you do, don’t use lines such as ‘I know I don’t have a 2.1, but...’ Instead, tell them why it is YOU that they want. As while this may not work most of the time, it can lead to results.
4. Be persistent.
Jobs very rarely fall into our laps, even if you are a double first maths graduate from Oxford. You may have to make lots of calls, chase people up, and spend hours writing what feels like interminable applications. But don’t be discouraged – it will pay off.
Author: Sarah Maloney