Don’t wait until January to make a change

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It might only be October, but there’s something about autumn that evokes feelings of new beginnings.

Maybe it’s the winding down after a busy summer, or the fact that our academic diaries need replacing, but come September it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘back to school’ spirit.

So treat tomorrow like January 1st and start setting your New Year’s resolutions now. You’ll feel less pressure to tell friends and family your goals and update them on your success, and when 2016 rolls around you can revisit your list and assess your progress ahead of everyone else.

If you’ve been waiting to make the leap back into learning but are worried about how you will fit this into your busy schedule, here are some tips to help you get back into studying as well as progress in your career.

Ready to set your goals but need a bit of inspiration? Borrow some of these career resolutions for your list:

Be more productive

Ever reach five o’clock and wonder what you’ve achieved all day? Sometimes when there’s so much work or study to get through, you end up feeling overwhelmed and try to do everything at once. Stop multitasking; prioritise your jobs and focus on one at a time. Avoid distractions like Facebook and texts. Close any internet browser tabs you don’t need right now, put your phone on silent and, if you’re not waiting for an urgent message, close down your emails until you’re ready to move onto the next task. Commit fully to what you’re doing and you’ll achieve much more.

Gain another qualification

Gaining another qualification could expand your career options and increase your earnings, yet going back to study is always a challenge – especially if you’re working too. If you’ve been thinking about returning to study, October is a perfect time to research the options available to you. If your schedule is already hectic, pick a flexible course you can study in your own time and on your own terms. Keep thinking about the end goal and stay motivated. If embarking on a full qualification isn’t something you can commit to right now, then you could consider doing a short course to brush up on your skills and test the water for future study.

Get commercially aware

If you want to advance your career, it’s important to understand how your current role fits into the wider business and how it impacts the company’s success, as well as how external factors, like industry trends or developments in the sector, could affect the company. By building a more rounded view of the organisation’s goals and strategy, you’ll start to gain a new perspective of the business and your position within it. A commercial, strategic understanding of your role will make you much more valuable to your employer, and it will increase your own self confidence and feeling of investment in the business.  Start reading up on the industry, research your employer’s competitors and subscribe to some business blogs or trade magazines.

Talk more

Want this to be the year you get that promotion or job offer? Start networking! Nurturing your relationship with your boss is important, as you want them to endorse your career plan and recommend you for other roles in the business. But don’t just talk to your immediate team; take opportunities to chat to people in other areas of the business, the more senior the better, whether it’s in meetings, in the office kitchen or at after-work drinks. If you’re looking for a completely new role outside your current organisation, head to some industry networking events and swap business cards.


Adding CIMA to your list of New Year’s resolutions is a great way to get your career moving forward. You’ll train towards becoming a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) and be in huge demand among top employers around the world. Boost AAT with CIMA and your career options – and earning potential – could skyrocket.

Tamarah Alrayes is Specialist, Recruitment Marketing — Management Accounting for CIMA.

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