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ReConnect Africa is a unique website and online magazine for the African professional in the Diaspora. Packed with essential information about careers, business and jobs, ReConnect Africa keeps you connected to the best of Africa.


ImageIf you have a question for our Career Coach, e-mail us at  careers@ReConnectAfrica.com

Dear Career Coach,

I am in the final year of my graduate school at the leading business school in Uganda. I have done accounting and auditing and have a strong passion for it. I want to join one of the auditing firms in Uganda and they all do graduate recruitment at our university.

I have managed to finish school with a 1st class degree, however my "O" level grades were not good - I had a second grade but my "A" level grade was much better. An employee of one of the firms told me that they only consider people who have passed highly at all levels. This is what makes me lose hope in my ambitions and the same reason I have written to you to help me answer the following questions. So should I change my goals and forget all about working in a highly reputable firm? How important are lower level grades in recruitment? Of University grades and lower level grades, which one matters most?

Ambitious Stephen

Dear Stephen

First of all, congratulations on your first class degree – I am sure this took a lot of hard work, focus and persistence. You will continue to need these qualities if you are going to succeed in your ambitions and not be put off by negative comments from people that you come across.

Having said that, recruitment is a matter of supply and demand. If the top firms that come to your campus are able to access a ready market of highly educated talent, they may select candidates using a higher benchmark which could include looking at all the grades applicants achieved during their education.

However, rather than losing hope or changing your goals, ask yourself what you can do to improve your chances of getting an interview and of performing well when you are invited to interview. Achieving a first class degree is a clear example of your competence and talent today, which, ultimately, is what matters to any employer.

Make sure your applications are well written (we’ve had to edit quite a few typos in your e-mail!) and be ready to address questions about your previous grades in a positive way and to highlight how much focus and hard work you have subsequently put in. Demonstrate your commitment to working for a top firm by researching information about them. Try to identify networking opportunities to get yourself noticed by and known to the firm you want to join. Are there alumni from your university now working in those firms who could help you find a way in? Do your accounting and auditing professors who have seen your good work on your course have any links or contacts with the firm you want to join? Your first-class degree will be what matters most if you cover all the angles and get your preparation and presentation right.

Need some help to solve your career dilemma? Whether you are a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, our experienced careers coaches can work with you – on an individual or group basis – to help you get back on track with your career.

From online CV checking to face-to-face coaching, presentation skills training to making the right impact at interview, our careers services will help you reach your goals.

Contact us now to discuss your needs: careers@reconnectafrica.com

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