Can I Get a Graduate Job With a 3rd?

Geni Carter

It has come to the end of a summer of celebrations after graduating from university and now it’s time to start applying for graduate jobs and you’ve realised you might have enjoyed your time at university a little bit too much.

While you may categorise this time as first class, your results speak otherwise and now the worry is setting in as you come to terms with a 3rd class honours degree. But don’t panic just yet! We want to show you how your career prospects can be brighter than you think.The process might not be easy but we’ve put together some advice for you to give you the best chance at impressing employers and finding a graduate job with a 3rd.

Coming to terms with a 3rd: the bottom line is don’t worry

We want to reassure you that it is possible to find yourself a job with a lower class degree, you just need to know how and to be prepared to put the work in to make up for the work you didn’t put in at university.

In the long run, no one will ever ask you what you came out of university with. It’s all about the skills and experience you gain and as time goes on these will completely out-weigh your university results. A company will hire candidates based on whether they think you will be capable and competent in a role, for example, another candidate might have come out of the University of Oxford with a first but have very poor people skills and so wouldn’t be suitable. It’s up to you to show them why you’re the right candidate.

Build your CV in the right places

What extra-curricular have you done and what skills did it give you? It is important to give the employer evidence that shows your suitability to the job, so take any work experience or volunteering or societies you’ve done and say what you did, how you did it and why it is relevant to the job. Writing a skills-based CV can be effective in putting emphasis on what you can do and detract from your academic results.

You might be in-between applications but there is always more you can do

While applying for jobs you can still be actively building on your skills and work experience. Find the skills required for a role and then look for ways you could learn or enhance these for yourself. So you might be looking at positions in software development, are you competent in all the necessary IT skills? When most likely the answer is ‘no’, you could find additional practical training like online courses in software writing you haven’t learnt about or reading up about other useful programming skills.

Other things you could be doing to impress employers and improve your skills could be volunteering, work shadowing, internships and research involving continuously checking in on industry news.

You might find that these are very good talking points in cover letters or interviews even if they might not be on your CV. These smaller tasks will eventually pay off and lead on to bigger opportunities.

There is huge value in looking at a graduate job in start-ups and SMEs

While the Big 4 accountancy firms might be slightly relaxing their candidate filtering system, smaller companies can frequently be far more flexible about entry requirements and can offer you the chance to gain experience in multiple industries. They can afford to look beyond a university degree and instead assess your personality, adaptability and relevant skills.  

In addition there are fewer applications to these companies, not only giving you a greater chance but also giving you the opportunity for a more personal experience where you can email them directly about a role and showcase your personality without getting lost in a pool of other applicants.

This is exactly what we do at TalentPool. We connect candidates and graduates to employers within these smaller companies and save you the need to scour the industry for them, we want to make the process easier for you.

Hopefully our tips will help you tackle the start of your graduate job hunt with confidence but adjusting your expectations is very important. Being flexible can considerably open up your options. You might be challenged and have a few setbacks but it is most definitely still possible to get a graduate job with a 3rd as long as you keep putting the work in in the right places.