A friend of mine was recently reminiscing about her graduation 4 years ago. She was awarded a third class degree and hated her graduation day, struggling to work out what the 3 years were all for and what exactly she had learned. She had felt pretty down about it and wasn’t looking forward to her future career prospects.
Four years on and she is happily pursuing a successful career path in PR – something she had never even thought of when she graduated, and totally unrelated to her degree. To her surprise, people simply aren’t interested in her 3rd Class degree. It seems irrelevant now.
There are many success stories from famous people with 3rd Class degrees – Hugh Laurie, David Dimbleby, er, Carol Vorderman …. what is important with all of these people, is who they are, rather than the degree they got.
Let’s get the facts in; the graduate schemes, run by larger corporations and small numbers of employers, are closed to you for now. The same might be true of some traditional routes into the professions. Ditto employers with very clear, open, categorical ‘minimum’ degree requirements.
No point in wasting energy here – we need to look elsewhere – focusing on the huge numbers of employers across the UK and globally, that are looking for the right person, not simply the right degree.
It’s useful to think about the reasons you got a 3rd Class – were you unsuited to the subject matter; was the focus of learning unsuited to your strengths or way of learning? Was it too prescriptive when you think more creatively, or vice versa? Now is the time to think about what you enjoy, what interests you – and follow it.
Your search needs to focus on the smaller businesses, the voluntary sector and public sector – here be roles that want people with skills that fit, and have a genuine interest in the work that they do. To start you off, look at Manchester Graduate Programme
You may need to start at the junior level, but if you follow your interests and talents, you will soon progress.
Tap into your experiences so far – your team skills, communication skills, customer focus skills from your part time or volunteer roles, your organisational skills.
Most jobs do not require academic excellence, indeed in many it is a distinct disadvantage. Most jobs require curiosity, interest, willingness to learn, common sense, engagement with other people, enthusiasm and team spirit. The 3rd Class becomes less important the more you can focus on these.
Shift your thinking away from what the 3rd Class doesn’t offer, to what you, as a person, do offer. You’ll be surprised what you find, as will your future employer. Bonne chance!!!
By Bernadette Lyons
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