- I have a 2.2 and all the employers I've looked at want a 2.1
- I only have 240 (or fewer) UCAS points and employers all want at least 280 …
- I have a criminal record
- How to get a Criminal Records Bureau check
Many of the large, high-profile graduate recruiters do look for a 2.1. These recruiters receive many thousands of applications and use degree classification as a way in which they can keep numbers down to a more manageable level.
Employers in the finance and legal sectors are always popular choices for graduates and almost always look for high academic standards. The blue-chip, household name recruiters, such as oil companies and food manufacturers, are also likely to impose a 2.1 requirement in order to limit the applications they receive.
However, plenty of graduate training schemes are open to graduates with a 2.2 (although a 2.1 or above will obviously do your application no harm). These include many public sector employers, such as the NHS, the Audit Commission, HM Revenue and Customs and the Civil Service Fast Stream. Other employers which specified a 2.2 minimum during the 2009-10 recruitment season included AWE, Centrica, EDS, Network Rail and Toyota to name just a few.
For a list of employers that will accept a 2:2 see here (campus only link)
Other graduate programmes which rarely specify a degree class are those in which good people skills have priority: these include the armed forces, the police, social and probation work, retail, logistics and teaching.
“Graduate training schemes” in fact only represent a small proportion of the graduate job market. Most graduates, whatever their class of degree, will join smaller/medium-sized organisations (SMEs) which tend to be more willing to look at all parts of graduates' applications. See www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sme.htm
Several years ago I interviewed a Theology graduate who had just been awarded a 3rd class degree. He was a bit despondent about this but had a really pleasant outgoing personality and a conscientious attitude to everything he did.
A few months later I was shopping in Debenhams when I bumped into him. He was really happy. His manager had been so impressed with his hard work, cheerful demeanor, his desire to go out of his way to help customers, keenness to learn and positive attitude to even the most routine tasks that she had had no hesitation in putting his name forward for the company management training scheme.
SMEs also include many media organisations, such as publishers, public relations agencies and production companies. Here, relevant experience is more important than degree class – someone who has edited the student newspaper or run the student radio station will be of more interest than someone who has a 2.1 but a much lower level of practical experience
Finally, people with outstanding skills and experience should not be put off applying for graduate employers that do normally look for a 2.1 – but your additional qualities really do have to be outstanding. If you have run your own business, held a sabbatical post or set up a community project in Outer Mongolia , contact the graduate recruitment department directly, let them know what you have to offer and ask to be considered. Not only your experience but also your confidence and assertiveness will make a positive impression!
UCAS points may, like class of degree, simply be used as a way to cut down the numbers of applications still further. In some cases, there are stronger reasons: chartered accountancy firms have found over many years that A-level grades are a very strong predictor of success in professional exams and therefore look for a high points score.
It isn't usually worthwhile retaking A-levels during or after a degree, as employers will only consider the results from your first sitting.
If there were good reasons why you didn't do as well as you should have done in your exams (illness, bereavement, etc), make sure that employers are aware of these.
If your results have improved substantially while at University, it is still worth trying these employers. Recruiters are usually impressed by first-class degrees, provided that you also have all the general skills and competencies that will help you to do the job.
Outstanding skills or experience in other areas (such as gap year, vacation or part-time work and posts of responsibility at university) can also help you to be considered. If you feel that you have got something extra to offer, it is worth contacting the graduate recruitment department directly and asking to be considered on these grounds. Not only your experience but also your confidence and assertiveness may make a positive impression!
There are so many different types of crimes, convictions and sentences that you should really seek individual advice from a careers adviser or from any other individual with knowledge of the criminal justice system or of the area in which you hope to work.
In a survey of employers in the United States 98% of all survey participants made comments that applicants with a criminal history must be honest about the situation to prevent HR from finding the issues on a background check later.
An applicant was filling out a job application.
When he came to the question, "Have you ever been arrested?" He answered, "No."
The applicant answered it anyway: "Never got caught."
- 71% suggested to write explanation on the CV or APPLICATION FORM.
- 9% suggested to wait until the INTERVIEW to explain.
- 6% suggested to write an explanation on the COVERING LETTER
- The others had no response or suggested alternatives such as self employment
The following information sources may be useful starting points:
- Prospects.ac.uk has produced a guide for students and graduates with a criminal record, including advice on marketing yourself, finding positive employers and useful contacts www.prospects.ac.uk/downloads/sis/handlingdiscrimination/offenders.pdf
- NACRO www.nacro.org.uk provides advice on education and employment for ex-offenders and has published a factsheet on “Applying for work with a criminal record” www.nacro.org.uk/data/files/nacro-2007031500-181.pdf
- Factsheet for employers on employing people with criminal records www.cipd.co.uk/subjects/dvsequl/exoffenders/crimrec.htm?IsSrchRes=1
- Employing ex-offenders: a practical guide produced by the CIPD for the Criminal records Bureau www.crb.homeoffice.gov.uk/pdf/CIPD_Employing_ex-offenders%20guide.pdf
- The Apex Trust www.apextrust.com is a voluntary organisation that specialises in helping ex-prisoners find employment
- TUC briefing on the employment of ex-offenders www.tuc.org.uk/welfare/tuc-12092-f0.pdf
There are two types of CRB check:
- Standard Disclosure, which shows current and spent convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings held on the Police National Computer. This is often used by organisations in professions such as law and accountancy.
- Enhanced Disclosure, used for posts that involve working with children or vulnerable adults. In addition to the information provided by a Standard Disclosure check, these involve a search of the new Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) barred lists to check if applicants are barred from working with children or vulnerable adults, and can also include any information held by local police forces that a Chief Constable considers relevant to the position applied for.
To apply for either type of Disclosure, you will be asked to:
- telephone the Disclosure application line on 0870 90 90 844, in which case you will need to provide the Registered Body name and number (i.e. the name and CRB number (an 11-digit number provided to the employer by the CRB)of the employer you will be working for - the employer will be able to provide you with this information)
- complete a paper application form handed to you by the person who asked you to apply.
In both instances, you will be asked to provide your name, address and date of birth, along with the Registered Body name and number, and the level of
Disclosure. This will help the person who asked you to apply confirm your identity. A guidance booklet on how to complete the form will be provided.
For full information see www.crb.homeoffice.gov.uk
Other types of criminal records checkThe current legislation does not allow individuals to apply for a Criminal Records Bureau check on themselves.
However, if you are asked to provide a “criminal record check” by an organisation that is not registered with the CRB (perhaps one that is based outside the UK, such as a language school) a Basic Disclosure or a police check is often acceptable.
This contains only convictions considered unspent under The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
Anyone can apply for a basic disclosure in their own name. This might be requested for a new job, volunteer work or to support a visa application.
Apply online via www.disclosurescotland.co.uk/apply/individuals This costs £23. You will be required to supply at least one of the following: passport, driving licence or National Insurance number.
Police forces can make checks of what is held on their computer systems about individuals. This is known as a subject access request. This is not a criminal records check. The police check will either provide a certificate stating that there is currently no information held about you on the national police computer or it will provide a list of convictions.
There are three possible ways of obtaining the form. You can write/telephone the force involved and they will post one out to you; if you are outside the UK you can ask a friend or relative to collect one from the local police station in the force area concerned; or some forces may have the form on their website that you can download.
The cost of one of these types of checks is £10 and the police will provide you with this information in a maximum of 40 days. https://www.askthe.police.uk/content/Q542.htm
Last fully revised 2013