How to get an awesome grad job when you have average marks

September 13, 2016
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With all the late night study sessions, last minute assignments and general uni stress, we put a lot of work into getting good grades. We’re constantly told by lecturers and tutors that the higher our grades are, the better chance we’ll have at landing that dream job at the end of it all.

But if you can’t quite push that distinction average, there are ways to close the gap and make yourself a contender for the grad job you’ve had your heart set on since first year.

Study abroad

While this might seem more like leisure than resume building, hear me out. The fact you’ve travelled shows potential employers you’re an organised, autonomous person. It also shows that you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone and experience different things. So if an opportunity comes to go abroad, whether academic or otherwise, jump at the chance!

Real world experience

Volunteer and internship positions are the most valuable thing you can do to make yourself attractive to potential employers. It not only shows potential employers that you have practical experience, it also shows them you have a real interest in your desired field and you’re actively trying to learn more.

If you’re struggling to find opportunities, consider dropping in on your uni’s career hub. They can help you to credit experience to your degree or help you dig up the more hidden positions that you wouldn’t otherwise find.

Excel in another job field

If you can’t manage to grab a position in your field of study, looking for employment in other fields can still be a valuable asset.

Demonstrating commitment and development is revered within any position, whether that’s as a secretary or a retail assistant. It shows that you’re a loyal employee and if you get promoted to a managerial position, this shows you are able to take initiative for yourself, as well as your subordinates. So no matter how dreary that retail gig can be, it’s still a great way to gain skills that you can point to during that big grad job interview.

Online portfolios

In more creative fields like graphic design, photography and journalism, having an online portfolio is a must. It’s basically an online resume that you can distribute with a simple link, offering a more creative way to display your skills.

Start small with a free Wordpress and consider investing if it begins to grow. If you’ve managed to amass a significant audience, it also shows that you’re able to create, maintain and effectively market a website, as well as cultivate an online brand. These skills are very valuable as more and more industries make the move online.

At the end of the day, employers are looking for well rounded, capable people, not exam sitters. While marks can indicate your skill in that field to a certain extent, there are plenty of other indicators that employers look to when hiring. So if you feel your grades don’t fully reflect your capabilities, don’t worry – there are so many other ways to beef up your resume.

Kim Koelmeyer

Kim is and Arts (Journalism)/Law student at Deakin University and deals primarily in memes and blogging.

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