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Is a bad degree result really the end of the world? It’s a question that’s long plagued graduates, but as Recruiting Times reports, a bad grade need not define you. While it may mean that you’re a few steps behind your peers, it’s the way we bounce back from failure that really counts.

More than just a number
These days, degrees are a dime a dozen. Hundreds of thousands of students are pumped out every year, but rather than be alarmed by the multitudes, this just means that there’s a greater emphasis on the individual. Candidates should ask themselves: what makes me different? What can I bring to the table that others can’t?

Employers are looking for more than just a name or grade on a page. They want to know what your strengths and interests are. After all, it is passion and not a pay check that gets us out of bed every morning.

Moreover, there is a whole world outside the office. Prospective employers are keen to learn about your extra-curricular activities, hobbies and how you would fit into their existing culture. Training is provided anyway and in our experience, it is raw talent and ambition that makes the biggest impact in the interview room.
Don’t get us wrong, we should always strive to achieve the best marks, but as anyone who has ever sweated their way through an exam can attest, grades don’t always reflect ability. Transferrable ‘soft’ skills are just as essential as industry-specific ones. And if you don’t have the skills, learn them.

One study by the London School of Economics (LSE) determined that graduates with a 2:1 degree would earn, on average, £81,000 more over the course of their career than their lower-grade counterparts. However, we have a few problems with this. One is that attempting to estimate long-term earnings is like trying to predict the weather: at best, it’s inaccurate. Meanwhile, correlating salary to a bachelor’s degree is, well, misguided.

Admittedly, we do see a sizeable cut to starting salaries because of poor grades, but this becomes less important as careers progress and experience is incurred. However, our most important objection is that the LSE study states that success can only be measured by salary. Could they be more wrong?

Reframing failure
You can’t walk into an interview at 22 and expect to be the perfect employee. This point is particularly pertinent and should be drilled home to graduates (and indeed, everyone): you are not a finished product. Experience can’t always be categorised or quantified, so fear not.

What we need is cognitive reframing. We need to redefine the way we perceive failure and choose to approach it as a necessary component on the journey to success, rather than its antithesis. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were both college dropouts, and Albert Einstein famously hated school. All we’re saying is life doesn’t end with failure: it begins. It is the individual and their own resolution – not their exam results – that will determine the course of their career. After all, aren’t we all just a few opportunities away from success?

If you’re ready to take the next step in your career, get in touch with the team at The Jefferson Group today.

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