HNDs are work-related qualifications where learning is often hands-on. Diplomates acquire specific technical skills and transferable skills that benefit employers
Many jobs offer good training opportunities and there are career paths that don't require a degree. However, you will not be able to apply to graduate schemes with an HND and it is unlikely you'll be considered for graduate-level jobs.
It is important to understand your qualification and think about how you can use it. In some cases, you could contact the employer and explain and discuss your qualification, including the skills you have built up, and enquire whether you would be considered for the role. However, if a graduate-level position is your aim, then consider whether further study is required for you to enter or progress within your chosen career.
Some careers require professional qualifications and memberships if you wish to progress. HNDs are accepted for some of these.
For each profession, there are different levels of qualifications and memberships and how an HND is accepted varies greatly. For example, to become a chartered certified accountant, the ACCA qualification is needed and having an HND may give exemptions from some exams.
HNDs can have limitations for other professions, such as engineering, as you will only be able to reach a certain level of membership before further study is required for progression.
Find out what level of qualification you need for your chosen career in types of jobs.
You need to be aware of your skills and strengths. Undertake a skills audit or SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to identify your interests, motivations and development opportunities. Combined with self-assessment tools, such as what jobs would suit me? and Windmills , they can help generate ideas for possible career directions, as well create a career action plan.
Self-analysis is an important activity when thinking about your career. It will help focus your career aspirations, develop your motivation and self-confidence, refine and focus your job-searching techniques, and improve your overall employability. You may also recollect skills and experiences that you had not considered relevant or important. Think about examples from your life that demonstrate these skills, such as your qualification, work experience and extracurricular activities.
Do your research and understand employer requirements. More information can be found on what skills do employers want?
Speak to your institution's careers service and use the information resources to gather labour market information. If you undertook your HND at a higher education (HE) institution, then ask about, and look into, the destinations of diplomates.
It is important to explore all the employers and opportunities available to you; see graduate employers.
Work experience is important in the majority of careers. Employers are looking for a broad range of skills and they value full or part-time paid jobs, placements, voluntary work and work shadowing. For more information, see work experience and internships.
Market yourself to the fullest. You have gained many skills through studying for your HND and working, so it is important you market these well. For useful information, refer to CVs and cover letters, applying for jobs and interview tips.
If you are working while studying and planning to stay with this employer, discuss career prospects, opportunities and professional development with them.
If you are looking for a new job, start researching and gathering information on the career and job sector you have identified. This includes:
Sources of information include:
Carry out regular job searches oncompany and career websites, and sign up for email/text services. Refer to job hunting for ideas on how and where to look.
There are alternative ways of sourcing vacancies as some are not advertised. Try networking within your current organisation, the sector in general, or with your personal contacts, make speculative applications, and look for internal promotions.
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