Just when your career plan is about to kick start you hit a speed hump, your training agreement has been deferred. Now is the time to think about your options and the implications, but don’t make any rash decisions.

It will be important to concentrate on your wellbeing both for the here and now as well as for your long-term life plan. It might be hard but don’t worry about the things that are out of your control. We are living in a world where there are things that we simply can’t change or influence right now. Focus your thoughts, actions and energy on the things you can control and do something about.

Here are our three top tips on how to make the most of your unexpected ‘year out’:

1. Don’t stop learning

Take every opportunity to broaden your knowledge. This can be related to your profession. Taking the time and making the effort to develop at least some the skills you would have gained in your first year will pay off. It will accelerate your learning and development when you start. But don’t stop there. Learning new skills outside your profession is fulfilling and good for your wellbeing. There are so many podcasts, Ted talks and online webinars to explore. You might also want to explore formal accredited training. Coding, project management, advanced excel – think about what might be helpful in your future career. Use the time to make yourself even more marketable. This may have slowed the start of your career, but it doesn’t mean you can’t catch up. Think about how you’ll answer this question when you do eventually start your training contract “So what have been up to for the last 12 months?” You want the response to your answer to be “Wow” not “Oh”.

2. Stay connected

Just because you aren’t working don’t distance yourself from your profession.  Keep up to date with the latest news and happenings, this will not only keep you connected but also give you relevant information and help with any interviews. If there are ICAEW and/or CABA events you can log in to, do so.  Find ways to stay connected with your future colleagues. If there are ‘stay in touch’ events, make sure you join them. Talk to as many people as you can because this is a great opportunity to develop your networking skills. Check in on LinkedIn regularly, share content, comment on posts and contribute to debates. Make new contacts and expand your network. Networking now will help your future career development and is a great habit to get into.

3. Stay active

It’s easy to get into sedentary habits without the structure and routine of a job and be mindful of the negative effect this can have on your fitness, energy-levels and lifestyle. Staying active is crucial to your mental as well as physical wellbeing. Whether it’s Joe Wicks in the lounge, cycling or a good walk find a form of exercise that suits you. Set yourself targets e.g. ‘Couch to 5K’, 10,000 steps per day, 150 mins physical exercise per week etc. You might want to gain some paid employment or voluntary work while you wait for your training contract to start. This can add fulfilment to your life now and could look great on your CV. Employ the same disciplines as you did to land the training contract in the first place. Think about what the job/company/charity are looking for and make your application compelling and different. Make sure your CV is packed with achievements and go in to interviews with passion and enthusiasm.

Written by Chiumento, the outplacement, career development and leadership specialists.

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