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1st Class Honours with highest ranked first in Uni but only 2 A levels

 
#1 1st Class Honours with highest ranked first in Uni but only 2 A levels
12/08/2006 23:38

J to deleted (#0)

Hi all, this is my first thread to this never ending concern that I have. I have a 1st class Honours degree with 2 awards from University, one of which was for having the highest average overall mark in the business school. However, whilst approaching the graduate schemes out there, it seems that most employers are after 3 good A levels/300 points, regardless of the degree!

I had very extrenuous circumstances during my A levels thus only achieved two C's. Now I am wondering, is it worth re-doing 3 a levels over the next 2 years to prove to prospective employers that I am competent at undertaking a consulting role.

Is there anyone that can provide any advice at all? The circumstances I faced during A levels took many years to resolve which is why I began my degree late and finished late. I am currently 27 and am very unkeen at re-doing A levels but at this moment in time, with only 2 C's, seems like my only option.

Thanks

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#2 RE: 1st Class Honours with highest ranked first in Uni but only 2 A levels
13/08/2006 08:06

Jebus to J (#1)

To re-sit A levels when you have a first class honours degree would show that you are uncertain of yourself.

What you should be doing is chasing the jobs, dont bother about the A levels if you have a first, you can attribute that to 'something' that happened at some point of your career. Furthermore it will not be the subject matter of your interview.

Well done on your 1st class sir!, and if i were you I would be proud of myself.

(I tend be be a touch arrogant, so a 1st with additional distiction would make me unbearable, sounds like you work well with it)

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#3 RE: 1st Class Honours with highest ranked first in Uni but only 2 A levels
13/08/2006 13:16

Trying to Jebus (#2)

This was a problem that I came across when applying. I wasn't getting past the CV and cover letter stage because i wasn't the right fit (despite having the grades/university).

In the post I started something was said that stuck with me (well, the posting got so vicious i remember a lot of it, but whatever!) and this was that every over achiever (i'm not one!) from Oxbridge is going for exactly the same job and faced with their CVs and my CV I just don't shine. Fair enough.

I think that might be happening to you too. They do have to sift through mountains of CVs so it's human nature to take short cuts, and judgment based on a-level grades is one of them. So, here's what I found on the CV side - differentiate yourself. I included some relevant things I had done like organising a conference on organisational risk for example. Those kind of things get a good reception, i think anyway, i've been wrong before... Also, I went to graduate recruitment agencies. They 'seem' to have good working relationships with some of the consultancies and they can talk about you in a very personal way to the recruiters at the consultancy and this might be a way to get your extenuating circumstances across.

My mum was *very* ill and I cared for her for two years from 22 to 24 (seemingly critical career years). I took a great graduate job that taught me a lot but ultimately wasn't in consulting because at that satge I simply couldn't spend 16 hours at work. But it looks funny on my CV and it's not the kind of thing i'd put in a cover letter, so, I found agencies a good way around things in terms of explaining that for me.

BTW, during one online application i came across a question asking whether there were any extenuating circumstances that might have affected school/university grades and that warmed my heart to see. Didn't help me particularly, but it was nice all the same.

I hope everything goes well with you.

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#4 RE: 1st Class Honours with highest ranked first in Uni but only 2 A levels
13/08/2006 13:28

Trying to Trying (#3)

Wonder why Jebus thinks you're male, J? That's interesting :)

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#5 RE: 1st Class Honours with highest ranked first in Uni but only 2 A levels
13/08/2006 19:10

J to Trying (#4)

Thanks for all of your replies. I am still confused to be quite honest! I am considering to find a job and maybe do 1 A level and AS at the same time. This may seem like a very contraversial question, but has anyone "window dressed" their CV i.e. lied a little bit and been ok?

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#6 RE: 1st Class Honours with highest ranked first in Uni but only 2 A levels
13/08/2006 19:28

Never to deleted (#0)

I knew one guy who said he got a 2.1 when he really got a 2.2 and when the company found out he was a gonner.

Not worth it mate. Also, don't think doing a levels again makes much sense, especially as it'll be clear from your cv and application form that you took them at different sittings. Unless you do sciences and maths, maybe.

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#7 RE: 1st Class Honours with highest ranked first in Uni but only 2 A levels
13/08/2006 21:49

sham to Never (#6)

How are employers really gonna chek tho!

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#8 RE: 1st Class Honours with highest ranked first in Uni but only 2 A levels
14/08/2006 00:24

Jebus to sham (#7)

Companies check via a system similar to Equifax, ie: they type in your name and bingo bango theres your grade. Now this usually only happens when they need to dispose of you. By all means window dress your experience as throught different eyes no event is the same, do not window dress facts, facts can be checked.

Uless of course you know how to change the facts

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#9 RE: 1st Class Honours with highest ranked first in Uni but only 2 A levels
14/08/2006 09:47

jack to Jebus (#8)

Definitely would not bother retaking A levels. The "failure" is there now and cannot be erased by retaking in the eye of recruiters.

Lying shows lack of integrity. Putting the right spin on your background is acceptable.

What you can do is:

1) Do not mention the grades on the CV. If asked then explain that you had mitigating circumstances, restress your degree and ask them if the degree makes up for it. You should get a yes.

2) Make sure you get good grades in future exams.

3) Add enough goodies on your CV that the A levels become less and less important.

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#10 RE: 1st Class Honours with highest ranked first in Uni but only 2 A levels
14/08/2006 11:46

Adrian to jack (#9)

The most effective way of "window-dressing" your CV so to speak is to emphasise your experience (read; exagerate) and if you have grades that your not particularly proud of then just list the topic. If they ask at interview then tell them. Like you say, employers can check your academic history but they can't exactly delve through your professional experience with a former employer.

Also, don't lie. Exagerating is easy and easy to carry off, lying isn't easy.

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