Advice for students in the current Covid-19 climate

Apr 02, 2020
We are in unprecedented times and as a trainee Chartered Accountant you are currently learning to be adaptable and flexible. These are attributes that will be vital all the way through your career pathway
For many of you, the day job is a challenge at the moment, combined with the changing landscape of exams. However, as a distraction from these pressures and on a more positive note it's worth remembering that you are on track to achieve one of the top business qualifications in the country. If you are looking for a break from study perhaps take the time to look at the bigger picture of where your professional qualification can take you and start putting the building blocks in place now. This advice applies to Cap 1, Cap 2 and FAE students alike. 

Expand your network

Build an enhanced LinkedIn profile. Connect with other ACA trainees and members. Increase your connectivity within the ACA and business community sending polite invites to connect. 
Browse the LinkedIn profiles of ACA members a few years ahead of you who you regard as successful and review the steps they have taken in their career. 

Review the changing marketplace

Use the Financial Times top 1000 companies list to start thinking about the key players in the market you would like to work for in the years ahead and ‘follow’ them on LinkedIn.  
It's never too early to start looking at job specs and trying to figure out whether you see your career path within practice, industry or perhaps financial services. 
Whether you are one, two or three years away from qualification it's worth considering what sectors are going to be buoyant in the aftermath of the Coronavirus crisis and now start aligning your experience and technical or soft skills set with these opportune sectors. 

Your Institute

Take a look at the Chartered Accountants Ireland website to view details of the webinars on offer, some of which are free.
The end of your contract will come soon enough and the current circumstances are only temporary so make sure you are ready. Starting developing a clearer picture of your preferred career path. Consider also the process involved in changing jobs and try to be prepared to make decisions once you qualify so that you are not in a situation where you have to make snap decisions without any research to back them up. 
Talk to your current employer to explore whether staying on after your training contract is an option. Sometimes this can be the clever option as there can often be the opportunity to advance your career further within the firm once you have qualified. It makes sense to have this discussion early on so that you can plan accordingly.

Stay positive

The most important thing, however, is to stay positive. Your new skills, experience and qualification have a value and will be as relevant as ever in the new economy that evolves post the Coronavirus. 

Stay in touch with Chartered Accountants Ireland

Ensure you connect with your Institute Careers Team early in the process even if it's just a LinkedIn invite to Dave Riordan and Karin Lanigan.  Your Careers Team will be a valuable ally as you face into the marketplace in the years ahead. 

Dave Riordan (ACA) 
Recruitment Specialist & Careers Coach