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What to do with a 2:2

What to do with a 2:2 

By James Reed

As thoughts turn towards life after university many graduates facing the prospect of achieving a 2:2 degree classification may be feeling anxious about their chances of success when it comes to securing employment.

Yet not achieving a 2:1 doesn’t have to mean the end of the world and with a proactive and positive approach, there’s no reason why you and your 2:2 can’t make even the toughest of hiring managers sit up and take notice of your application.

A 2:1 degree classification may have previously been the default requirement for many firms but they are now – including the big four accountancy firms of EY, PwC, Deloitte and KPMG – looking beyond university results when considering candidates for their degree programmes.

EY, the world’s third largest accounting firm has removed degree classification from its requirements, PwC has stopped using UCAS to filter candidates and both Deloitte and KPMG will consider graduates with a 2:2. This shift in attitude is also reflected by many other leading businesses as well with Sky, FDM Group, HS2, Jaguar Land Rover and Amey all adopting a more flexible approach to graduate requirement in recent times.

In 2016, Enterprise Rent-A-Car recruited 1,400 graduates and trainees and continually promote that degree classification is not part of its selection criteria. Similarly, HMRC hire over a thousand graduates with a mixture of degree results every year. Some famous names in their fields achieved success graduating with a 2:2 (or even a 3rd) – just take a look at Carol Vorderman, Bear Grylls, David Dimbleby, JK Rowling and Hugh Laurie!

Below are some helpful tips which will give you the best chance of being hired this summer.

  • The CV


    1. Ensure your CV puts added emphasis on your extra-curricular achievements. For example, participating in a team-sport would demonstrate to employers that you can work well with others.
  • Read the requirements carefully


    1. Always read the requirements carefully to see whether there is any flexibility. Does it say ‘ideally’ a 2:1, for example? In that scenario it may well still be worth applying because the ‘ideal’ candidate with a 2:1 may not have applied.
  • Internships


    1. If you’re struggling to tie down a job or a place on a graduate scheme, you could try looking for companies you can intern or even volunteer in to gain some valuable work experience whilst continuing to look and apply for paying roles.
  • Masters


    1. If you are not happy with your 2:2 it’s well worth enquiring about Masters Courses. With a Masters under your belt you may be more attractive to employers and they may overlook the fact your undergraduate degree was a 2:2. For just one more year of studying you could open more doors for yourself.
  • Use LinkedIn


    1. LinkedIn is a brilliant way of contacting individuals directly. There will usually be a contact name on the footer of most job adverts. See if that person is on LinkedIn and drop them a message, that way you will at least get piece of mind that the hiring manager looks at your application and recognises your name.
  • Do something different

The calculator below will be useful for those studying at the University of Sheffield or Sheffield Hallam University. By entering your module scores for years 1 and 2 the calculator can work out what you’ll need in your finals/coursework modules to achieve the grade you want. It takes into account weighting and your mean and median grades to work out what the University will award you.


  1. http://www.alexsilcock.net/projects/classifyme/
  2. Modern technology has made the process of applying for jobs very transactional with high volumes of applications being received. If the process allows, why not stop by their offices and hand-in your application in person? Not only will it ensure your application isn’t missed but it will show the business that you have initiative. Anything that makes you stand-out from the crowd is worth a shot!