CA Diary and Career Planning

Apr 08, 2021
Let’s be honest, keeping your CA Diary up to date can seem like a bit of an imposition, especially when you have so many competing priorities with a busy work, study and personal schedule. Like with most things we don’t put on the top of our priority list it can slip to the bottom and then the longer we put it off the more difficult it becomes to tackle. Well, there is a solution!  
Rather than looking at the process of completing the CA Diary as a chore,  I would suggest changing your mindset and start looking at it as an opportunity to help you with developing your career. So how do I do that I hear you say? 

Here are the steps:

Break it down into manageable tasks

Make time each month, even just an hour, to update your entries. If you are doing this monthly there is no doubt that this will be enough time to keep you up to date. By breaking the process down into smaller more manageable blocks of time it will definitely be easier to stay on top of it. You can  avoid a situation where you have months and even years to catch up on. 

Form good career management habits early in your career 

Your career will benefit from you investing time regularly to reflect on the skills and experience you have developed and taking the time to consider where the gaps might be and how to deal with these. This is a positive habit to develop early in your career and it can help you to avoid many of the pitfalls that can arise during your career. Proactively managing your career rather than letting it just happen is essential. Taking the time to actively invest in managing your career is a positive habit to develop and will reap rewards in terms of career success and satisfaction. 

Set the time aside in your calendar and stick to it. Arranging the process like this will actually save you time as it will be so much easier to identify and highlight what to include in your CV Diary rather than having to rack your brain to remember the pertinent aspects of your experience. This approach combined with the Career Planning tool (include details) will help you to successfully manage your career. 

Build and update your CV and interview preparation notes as you go

If you update your CA Diary as you progress with your exams you will also be better equipped to draft a CV when it comes to the time to start looking for a new role should you wish to do so when you qualify. Having an up to date and comprehensive CA Diary makes this process much easier as you can use this content as the basis for your CV and take the pain out of the process. You can also use this information to keep your LinkedIn profile updated which is an essential tool for building and managing your personal brand. 

Similarly, the detail you have included in your CA Diary will also provide you with solid examples and content for interviews, particularly for competency based questions. Again, taking the time as you go along will ultimately save you a significant number of hours and potentially even days. 

Build greater awareness of your skills and strengths 

An important part of ensuring a successful career is to play to your strengths and to leverage the skills that you are naturally good at and enjoy using. The process of completing the diary on a regular basis will help you to identify and increase your understanding of the skills and competencies that will help to set you apart. With this awareness you can set about using this understanding to your advantage to advance your career. The earlier you build this awareness the more beneficial and motivational it will be and it will help you to drive your career forward. 

Likewise, you will also be able to identify any gaps or areas that might be holding you back and you can address them and seek support quickly before they have the potential to become an issue and impede your career progression.  

Stay motivated 

Maintaining your motivation levels can be a challenge. We are all human after all! However, regularly reviewing your progress and reviewing your CA Diiary entries can be really motivational as can using a Career Planning tool as you feel more in control and can clearly see the progress that you are making which will drive you on further. Remember to take time out to congratulate yourself on the progress you have made and treat yourself to a celebration. 

In summary using the CA Diary and the career planning tools provided by The Institute will ultimately make your life easier and they designed to set you up for career success. 

Dave Riordan ACA
Career Coach and Recruitment Specialist