A downturn in the economy brings with it job losses and a more competitive recruitment landscape but it also favours the brave.
The ones determined to get ahead, to set themselves apart, and those who embrace the latest ways of doing things.
An attitude for getting ahead in a tough market
The current climate presents the opportunity to focus on the direction you really want to go in and take time to think about what’s most important to you. You might be able to learn with fewer distractions or find yourself being more creative and flexible with how you approach things.
Taking a stance of continuous improvement and personal development is a great way to be attractive to employers. And of course, qualifications are always going to help you to stand out in the crowd and future proof yourself. There are job vacancies and some industries are thriving so put yourself in the best possible position to be in their line of sight.
Advice from a finance recruitment expert
Emma Robinson, MD of Red Diamond Executive Headhunters, said that in the current situation, distance learning can play a key role in helping candidates get ahead of the pack. Emma said: “Financial services is a key area for us and we are seeing a gap beginning to form between those who have used the current situation wisely and those who haven’t.
As a business, we use videoconferencing technology every day and many of the benefits of this are similar to those of an online course. It’s time-efficient, you don’t need to worry about commuting or parking and it can be accessed from anywhere in the world – at any time.
Technology has enabled us to reinvent how we do business as well as how we learn. Those who are proactive and are willing to embrace these new ways place themselves in a stronger position and are more likely to catch the eye.
Future-proofing and keeping up to date with the latest technology are key qualities our clients look for in a potential finance director; embracing a new way of learning is a great way to demonstrate you have these attributes.”
Making the most of the distance learning study route
Here are 38 of the best ways to really make the most of distance learning as a study route. Most people won’t do most of these. To get ahead, don’t be most people.
- Create a great study space for yourself.
- Make a commitment to prioritise your studies.
- Set an intention for yourself and write it down.
- Create a routine for yourself to bring your best self to your studies until it becomes a habit.
- If you are at work, have an open dialogue with your employer about how they can best support you and update them on your progress.
- Schedule in your study times in advance and try not to move them for other things. Make the other things fit in around them.
- Remove all possible distractions when you are studying (AKA your phone) so you can enjoy a period of deep work.
- Recognise your own procrastination techniques.
- Let your housemates or family members know when you’re working and explain that you need time, space, and quiet.
- Tell your friends about your studies and explain how important they are to you and share all your achievements with them. Surround yourself with the right people.
- Take regular breaks.
- Visualise your end goal and break it down into smaller steps to success along the way. Stick them on your wall where you study.
- Build a strong relationship with your tutor.
- Ask for help whenever you need it (that’s what they’re there for).
- Join a Facebook group with other AAT students.
- Take good recommendations and advice when they are offered to you.
- Start small. Break it down into smaller chunks and don’t get overwhelmed by the whole thing – big is the same as small, there’s just more of it.
- Just start – this might be opening a book and reading the first page.
- Interact with the other students in your online class.
- Help others – a great way to learn is by teaching.
- Make an accountability group with one or more other people on a similar journey to you. The group can work however you want it to. Weekly check-ins with each other via email, a monthly call, whatever works for you.
- Ask questions. Be curious.
- Start revision and assignments early to avoid panic later on.
- Try out all of the resources offered to you.
- Make use of MyAAT which includes sample assessments, e-learning modules, Green Light tests, career and recruitment tips.
- Do the work.
- Embrace technology to help your studies. Make voice notes and videos for yourself. Capture ideas and notes in tools like Notion and Evernote.
- Save and back up all your work. If you work in Google Drive it will auto-save everything.
- Try working from new surroundings from time to time like a cafe. You might be surprised that you enjoy working from an environment like that even if you normally need silence.
- Try listening to music with no lyrics or “background noise”.
- Know what time you work best and try not to leave your studies to the times when you’re most tired. Reserve some of your best energy for your learning.
- But be prepared to be flexible with when and where you study if needed.
- If you miss some of your studies don’t worry. There’s more commitment in stopping then starting again than there is in simply continuing something.
- Make sure your studies are sustainable. Keep doing small things often.
- Reward yourself for all the achievements.
- Take some real time off. Enjoy some solitude. You will study harder for it.
- Get involved with other things to support your learning.
- Grab any great opportunities offered to you with both hands.
It’s much easier to fit distance learning in around the rest of your life and schedule. You can choose exactly when and where you learn from and being online leads to increased interaction with other students. There is so much extra support available and lots of different resources on offer to help you whatever your learning style.
Distance learning is big for all students right now and many are finding it a more convenient and effective way to learn after they have had a short period of adjustment.
To set yourself apart from the crowd and start your AAT distance learning journey take a look at the AAT courses you can take.
- Self study and lockdown: What it was like to take a socially distanced assessment
- Key accountancy terminology: A bitesize glossary
- Good communication skills: the key to your dream role?
Sophie Cross is a freelance writer and marketer specialising in business and travel. She is the editor for London Revealed magazine and her clients include lastminute.com Group and Merlin Entertainments.