Beyond the grade

Getting the highest possible grade is clearly a good thing.  But it’s not everything.  Some companies are advertising graduate roles without stating the need for a ‘2:1 or above’ as they search for the right qualities in candidates, rather than their overall degree award.

For those of you who thinks this puts the pressure off aiming for a 2:1 or a First, think again. Recruiters aren’t going to ignore your grades entirely. And some will probably still get rid of applicants who have a 2:2 or below anyway. But the main point here is this:

Your overall achievements are worth more than academic grades alone. If you made an impressive impact on areas other than marks and degree award while studying, employers are increasingly interested in how you made that impact and what you have to offer them from your previous experiences.

photo by asifthebes

The word ‘talent’ is big here. Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) both dropped out of Harvard. But their talent allowed them to build a position of strength. Their subsequent success is not a reason to make you drop out of uni, but it’s a push toward showing you that grades aren’t the only marker of talent.

The word ‘talent’ is subjective, which is why job applications should be tailored to suit the job on offer and the type of person the employer is looking for. The focus on getting that job should be on you as a person, not on the grades you’ve achieved.

With the continuing news of ‘dodgy’ degrees, inflated grades, and so on, it is crucial that you showcase your wide range of talents and find new and exciting ways to make an impact. Just because you know that you’re not doing a ‘Mickey Mouse’ degree won’t stop some employers thinking you did! So prove them wrong!

As some further related reading, Management Issues reported last year on a GRADdirect study highlighting what employers are looking for in recent graduates. If you can show off your quality communication skills and dazzle them with your commitment to teamwork, you’re a long way there.

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