Getting jobs with a 3rd class or pass degree

How To Cope And Get Jobs In Nigeria With A 3rd Class or Pass Degree

Graduating with a 3rd class or pass degree is no sin. You’re not the first and you certainly won’t be the last.

Some unavoidable things must have happened in school that led to that.

But how do you tell that to the people around you?

Especially your parents or guardians who’d be feeling like their investments on you went down the drain.

When people finish from the university with a third class or pass degree, they most times feel like their whole world came crashing down on them.

We’ve seen cases where people become suicidal after graduating with poor grades from school; maybe because there was no one around to provide the advice and support needed to help them pick themselves back up.

If you’ve been feeling sad or lost because of your poor grades, I have good news for you.

You can actually get jobs in Nigeria with your 3rd class or pass degree.

And when I speak of jobs, I’m not talking about hustles that will overuse and underpay you.

I am, as a matter of fact, referring to good jobs that will help you live the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Poor grades do not define who you are. Believe you me, it’s not a determinant factor of the height you can attain. A lot of people without degree certificates are doing exceptionally well.

The reason I don’t look down on people with low grades is that, in most cases, there are always genuine reasons it happened.

In many Nigerian schools, students don’t get selected for the courses they applied for.

Imagine applying for Medicine and Surgery but ending up with an admission for a degree in CRS or IRS.

Not too many people can handle that.

Another causative factor can be the fact that many Nigerian students don’t get any freedom in their parents’ home—so when they are eventually out and on their own—it’ll be too much to handle.

They may end up getting carried away by the fantasies of life and other things more fun than studying.

Financial constraints can also lead to poor performance in school.

In other words…

Graduating with a low grade from the university is not necessarily indicative of a low mental capability.

Getting jobs in Nigeria is more than just graduating with good grades or bad grades.

There are things you can do with your 3rd class or pass degree that will help you get jobs faster than people that graduated with good grades.

Generally, there’s a high rate of unemployment in Nigeria; to the point that even some people that graduated from the university with first class and second class upper honors still find it difficult to get good jobs—other than becoming underpaid secondary school teachers.

If you graduated with a third class or pass degree in Nigeria, here are the things you must do to increase your chances of getting jobs:

1. Start a freelancing career

If you’ve never heard of freelancing, then you’ve been missing out on the opportunity to make good money online from what you do.

A freelancer is a person who’s not tied to an occupation or a client—but is connected from one client to another based on needs and availability of jobs.

You can become a freelancer in your field of expertise or a skill you developed professionally or unprofessionally.

On freelance platforms, you can find freelance doctors, consultants, lawyers, content writers, statisticians, virtual assistants and many more other fields

And on most freelance platforms, it is not required of you to provide your school leaving or professional certificate. What’s required of you is your skill and ability to present it to the world.

People don’t just make a living off freelance sites; they live the lives of their dreams.

I made a list of the best freelance sites Nigerians can get home based jobs from.

2. Write a killer CV

The first step to getting any job is writing a killer CV. But if you graduated with a 3rd class or pass degree, then your CV will be more than just the usual.

Believe you me, the value given to degree grades is waning.

It’s more than just what’s on your paper, it’s now a question of your skills and abilities; what you can offer to any organization that decides to recruit you.

That’s why your CV must emphasize more on your abilities and skills.

For instance, I’m a typist that types at a speed of over 70 WPM; this gives me an edge while applying for clerical jobs.

So, I’ll make sure all those skills and abilities that make me standout are listed in my CV.

3. Take Extra courses

You’re bound to get underrated if you present a 3rd Class or pass degree during job applications. However, taking additional professional courses in reputable institutions will give you an edge.

Extra courses do not have to be taken in universities or polytechnics.

You can take professional courses both offline and online at several institutions that provide such services.

It’s advisable that you take extra courses in areas related to your field since you’re doing it to improve your resume.

For instance, if you’re a graduate of Computer Science taking a course at CISCO will definitely give your resume a boost.

4. Believe in yourself

Most people feel like there are no jobs for 3rd class degree holders in Nigeria—so they end up never writing job applications.

According to Adeoye Adekoya, he never went for an interview because he felt like he could never get a job with his 3rd class degree.

To his greatest surprise, the first interview he ever went for granted him his first appointment—after waiting for many years.

How did he do it?

He took extra courses and started believing in himself more.

You can do the same.

You are the first person who must believe in you.

Write job applications and when you get called up for interviews make your interviewers look past just your grades.

Make them see reasons you’re are a perfect fit for that job.

I told you grades are slowing fading away as a basis for accessing job applicants.

Confidence, skills and abilities are now huge determinant factors.

5. Get a Masters Degree

If you’re unable to pull the previous 4 tips off, the next thing you can do to boost your chances of getting a good job is to go for your Masters degree in any reputable university.

Someone once sent me an email asking: ‘can I do a Masters with a third class degree?’

Actually, you can..

But in Nigeria, it’s highly difficult to find a reputable university that will offer direct Masters Degree admission to 3rd class degree holders.

Many of the Nigerian universities, however, allow 3rd class degree holders to take a short PGD (Post Graduate Diploma) before they can become eligible to go for their Masters.

6. Study Abroad

Most universities abroad do not bother much about what grades you graduated with before applying.

You will, however, be required to take a pre-masters course and exams; and after passing, you can go on and get your Masters.

If you’ve been in the Nigerian labor market for a long time, then you’ll know that getting a Masters degree from a reputable school abroad will give your CV a huge boost.

7. Showcase your portfolio

If I were a content writer or a web designer that graduated with a low grade from the university, then the first thing I’d do will be to look for a means to showcase my astuteness without having to display my grades.

For instance, if you’re a content writer, and you apply to get a job at any popular magazine platform, apart from your CV and certificate, it’ll be required of you to present evidences of past work and projects.

As a writer, I can easily showcase my writing skills on my personal blog—which can be used as a bragging point when applying to any reputable media company in Nigeria.

If you’re a web designer and want to get recruited at any web designing firm, you can easily showcase your ability by building quality websites that you can make references to when writing your job application.

Over to you…

I’ve shared some tips that can help you get jobs with a 3rd class or pass degree in Nigeria, now it’s over to you.

Which of those tips do plan to apply?

If you have any other advice for 3rd class and pass degree graduates, you can share them too using the comment section below.


  1. DrixJanuary 12, 2019

    Now I know better

  2. mario SamuelJanuary 7, 2019

    Thanks ! Really motivated by your piece. Most grateful

    1. Matt StephensJanuary 8, 2019

      You’re welcome Mario Samuel. I’m glad you find this article helpful. We hope to do more of this in the future. Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a positive feedback.

  3. Okusanya oluyinkaOctober 30, 2018

    Wow thanks for this tips it is so inspiring..

    1. Matt StephensOctober 30, 2018

      You’re welcome Okusanya Oluyinka. Thanks for visiting NHB and for dropping a comment.

  4. Omotunde WilliamsSeptember 5, 2018

    Wow these tips will really help me

    1. Matt StephensSeptember 12, 2018

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article, Williams. Thanks for stopping by.


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