21 / 01 / 19
It is getting to that time in the academic year when most final year students will be calculating their grades to work out what classification their degree will be. If you are graduating with a 2:2 it can seem like there is a bleak future ahead of you, especially when most traineeship and graduate jobs are asking for a minimum 2:1. However, getting a 2:2 in your degree is most certainly not the end of the world as it may seem.
A career in Law
If you had your heart set on getting a training contract, but fall short on the academic requirements it is ideal to be realistic. If there has been genuine mitigating circumstances which have hindered your ability to meet the requirement it is worth mentioning in your application. Think about applying for high street and middle size firms who may be more flexible. Many of these don’t advertise their positions so it is up to the applicant to approach the firms ( so do your research). There are a number of ways that can help you get your foot in the door:
Work experience will be vital in strengthening your application. Legal and non- legal experience is just as valuable. Remember to not just mention what you did but also what skills you have gained or developed through your work experience. The reality is that your application is going up against candidates with 1:1 and 2:1 degrees, so the more experience you have under your belt, the more it will help distinguish you from the rest. If you’re lacking in work experience it is never too late to start!
Networking can also be a crucial skill to help you stand out. Think about attending networking events put on by law firms, the university, and of course, the university law society. Eventbrite, the University’s careers portal and DULS social media is a great way to stay in the loop about upcoming networking events, most of which are free! Effective networking will allow you to meet useful contacts which can help you get a foot in the door of a law firm and make that all important first impression.
Commercial awareness, the buzz word all the law firms want you to know about. Developing a strong sense of commercial awareness will be all important when vying to impress law firms. In short commercial awareness is understanding the business environment that law firms and their clients operate in. If this is an area that you struggle with, you can start working on implementing a few habits in your day to day life like following business news on social media, listening to podcasts, radio etc. Try to tailor your commercial awareness around the law firms you are interested in. Showing an understanding of current affairs surrounding the firm and its clients can help you with applications and networking.
Consider applying for alternative role within a law firm. Working as a paralegal and administration within a law firm can be another way of getting into the legal sector. It is possible to work your way to a training contract from such positions.
A career outside of Law
The beauty of having a law degree is that you acquire many transferable skills which are applicable outside of the legal sector. There are many graduate jobs and schemes which accept 2:2 degrees across a wide range of sectors, including accounting, business, education and retail. Subscribe to a job board like Targetjobs.co.uk to keep in the loop with graduate jobs and schemes so you stay on top of deadlines.
Apply wisely. Reading a job description closely will be good indicator of whether the academic requirements for that role are strict. Writing applications can be a laborious process so applying for jobs with a strict 2:1 plus requirement may not be an ideal use of time. However, where academic requirements are listed as desirable rather than a must, applying may be worthwhile!
Focus on your strengths. Whether it’s a legal or non legal role, use your application to sell your strengths. This is where your work experience, networking and other relevant skills will come in to help set you stand out.
Remember a 2:2 is still a good degree, many have gotten far without any degree whatsoever, so use it to your advantage!
This post was written by our Careers Assistant, Mukha Lufuno Tshikhudo.