A graduate job hunter’s guide to the HEAR
The Higher Education Achievement Record (HEAR) is like a cross between a detailed degree certificate and a school leaver’s National Record of Achievement. It gives a detailed breakdown of your course, the modules you took, and some of the things you got up to at uni. The format is standardised for ease of use, but your university decides what to include. It will be available online, and will be updated at various stages in your academic career.
It is frozen at graduation, turning it into a permanent record of what you did in university. You can even send a link to prospective employers. Currently most of the universities involved in the programme have only rolled the HEAR out for undergraduates, but theoretically they will be available to postgraduates as well.
What does it look like?
The HEAR can be up to six pages long, and there are eight sections:
- Personal details
- Course name and title conferred – For example, a ‘Bachelor of Arts in…’
- Qualification level – When postgraduate courses are included, they will be explained here
- Course structure and details – The modules you took, the classification you achieved and the marks breakdown
- Pathways opened – Whether the qualification is accredited to let you join a profession, or if it lets you take further qualifications
- Further activities – Extra-curricular awards, selected activities and prizes
- Formal authentication – The university’s confirmation that all the information is accurate
- A web link to further details about the university
The main emphasis of the HEAR is on quantifying success. If you got a high grade in every module on your course, the HEAR will show that. If you received departmental awards, this will show up.
It won't mention the societies you were merely a member of. Nor will it include extracurricular activities that aren't associated with the university. It it not a complete reflection of your student experience, but that probably isn't what you want employers to see anyway.
Advantages of the HEAR
HEARs are issued to freshers at the start of their first term, so if your university has adopted the scheme, you will have been made aware of it. It is unlikely to be a prerequisite for a graduate job.
Possibly one of the biggest benefits of the HEAR is that it will help you to structure your graduate job application. Graduate job hunters often find it hard to talk about how successful they are. Those that have access to the HEAR will be able to use it as a basis for their applications and covering letters.