Where has AAT taken me?

imtiaz Registered Posts: 20 Dedicated contributor 🦉
I just want to share what has happened recently for me personally because of AAT and there may be some people in a similar position who may benefit from my overall experience.

I'm 24
I have 5 GCSEs but all A-B including the core subjects
I only have 1 A level which is in Biology - B
I done these in the same year, my education suffered a bit for various reasons..

Currently I'm studying and looking to complete level 4 of AAT by March/April, sitting two ACCA (F5,F6) exams in June 2014 ,and started a business degree with the open university taking the economics pathway. Quite a lot so personal time is kind of non existent.

I have no office work experience and no accounting work experience.

I was working doing night replenishment in Asda for a year, whatever I was earning I was investing into the stock market at the time. Reading so much financial material led to me getting fed up of working in Asda and deciding I need an escape into something else, at the time I didn't know what I was going to do but I took the leap.

By chance from Belfast I had gone to London, I started making applications and was invited to visit someone working for a recruitment agency in Liverpool street. He basically told me nice CV but nothing relevant on it to the type of work I want. He offered me some options (courses) which were quite expensive (and he was giving me a one day only half price voucher). I'm not stupid enough to fall for that, but what he had done for me was to realize I had to get qualified somehow. A day or two later I was sitting on Youtube and an advert appeared showing AAT. I looked into it further, went to Kaplan in Hammersmith and got some information. I didn't have enough money to take lessons, and even if I bought the books and self studied I knew i'd have to move back to Belfast and live with my parents. Here my journey began with AAT.

When I came back to Belfast I thought I had secured a practice to gain work experience at pretty quickly however that failed to materialize.

September 2012 I sat my first exam, after that my grandmother passed away and I spent 2 months abroad. I then went on and basically finished level 2 and 3 in January and february 2013 leaving out only the learn plus exams which I sat in June 2013 along with level 4 budgeting.

After sitting Personal tax in September 2013 I began searching for work experience.

Here is how I went about it.
1/ I went to someone who knew how to create CV's and help me get more motivated. I found that person through the job centre.
2/ He told me job adverts search for the ideal candidate but I should apply regardless if I meet the 'ideal' candidate requirements or not, and I should make each application specific to the job advertised. Meaning I change my CV, cover note etc to match the job advertised.
3/ He told me to begin calling employers, asking for someone who deals with Human Resources and then requesting work experience.

2 and 3 I didn't do until September - I wanted to know i'm capable of finishing level 4 first.

At the start of this month I started the process of calling employers using yell.com as a start guide to local businesses. Of the 4 employers I contacted, three got back to me, one didn't. I didn't want to carry on calling more employers at this point.

One offered me work experience starting in the new year after seeing my CV.

The second asked me to come in and see him, which I did. It was a sort of mini-interview and he said he'd call me back middle of November. In fact he called me on the 23rd of October and was now offering 3 days a week work experience opposed to the initial one day a week he suggested over the phone and during the interview with a view to becoming a permanent bookkeeper at the practice.

The third is a medium sized company (up to about 50 employees) who I made contact with through pushing a 3rd party charitable group to assist me in finding a placement. I was invited to go for an interview with them on the 23rd of October, they offered me 4 days a week, half a day doing accounting/bookkeeper based work and half a day doing admin based roles such as typing letters etc, the role will be paid and with a view to review after 6 months and if I impress allowing me onto their 3 and half year trainee programme towards becoming a fully qualified chartered accountant which begins in September 2014. Initially the role here was just for admin, however after scanning my CV and talking to them, the three partners had discussed it, called me the next day and changed the offer to what is above.

This is still on going with nothing finalised yet, although it probably will be in the next few days. I am likely to go with the medium sized company with the potential to be offered a training contract.

To sum up from my experience, a strong CV is essential to go along with AAT on the CV. Make your CV centre around what your goal is but also specific towards the job role you're applying for. Mine was to eventually become a chartered accountant. Without going for help to create my CV I wouldn't be in the position i'm in. It really was the CV that has allowed me to gain that entry in all three cases.

The second point - Your telephone manner, know what you're going to say, be polite and professional. - When they don't call back, you call them! The second offer I got was because I chased him up. I was specifically told that.

Third - Stay focused and motivated, show the employer you want it, I am surprised just how strong AAT was looked upon and I haven't even finished it yet. The person who helped me with my CV explained to me, a lot of employers employ for attitude, not for skills. Skills the employer can train you for.

If there is anyone else who was in the position I was in a few weeks ago, doing AAT with no experience and is worried, I hope after reading this you feel differently and regain the motivation you had at the start.



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