3 Things Every CFA Candidate Should Do Before the Year is Out

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By Sophie

NOTE: We recommend a bunch of things that you may like to get in this article, but we don’t make any commission out of this (yes, including anything branded 300 Hours). We’d just like to recommend some stuff that you may like!

It’s time of the year where you’re yearning for the coming holidays, or hoping things will get calmer towards year end. In most workplaces, December can feel like Fridays most of the time, which is great only if you make the most of that opportunity to prepare yourself for 2014.

Here are 3 must-dos before the new year:



#1: Update Your CV & LinkedIn Profile

Ugh, I know the exams are just over, or things at work are winding down (yay!). But this is the right time to do some tidying up and update your master CV to reflect your latest achievements done throughout this year. That way, it’s easy to tailor it to suit the specific role you want to apply for first thing next year – make this an annual habit. Even if you’re not searching for a new role, it’s always handy to have your latest updated CV to shoot out just in case your dream job comes calling!  

Writing a killer CV that lands you the job takes time, and it’s the essential first step to get you the interview you want. Spend a little time on this now during the ‘quieter’ recruitment period and it will pay dividends in 2014.


#2: Get Some Great Holiday Reads

It’s time of the year where you actually have time to curl up with a couple of good books. Here are some of my favourite finance-related recommendations from the 300Hours book club:
A brilliant book about Wall Street in the 1980s – a finance classic.
A recent depiction about life in the City (London’s Wall Street) in 2009 during the crisis, very funny and a must read!
An inspiring book about how an underdog baseball team used the ‘right’ analytics to sign up undervalued players, changing the game forever.
For something more serious, and nevertheless inspiring, I’d suggest checking out Warren Buffet’s annual shareholder letters, they are freely available from the Berkshire Hathaway website. I’ve personally read all of this while researching his company for work, in addition to the annual reports – it’s a pretty amazing read and you get first insights on how this grand master thinks and approaches long term investments – he does have a great sense of humour too!

#3: Reward Yourself! 300 Hours’ 2013 Mini Gift Guide
You’ve worked hard studying for the CFA exams throughout the year, it’s time to treat yourself with some schwags for the upcoming end-of-the-year holidays. At 300 Hours, we’re kinda geeky and practical at times, but here are some study-friendly cool stuff that we think adds to your productivity repertoire for the upcoming year!

Be awesome, get a free 300 Hours mug!

We love freebies here at 300 Hours, especially useful ones. So if you’re an awesome contributing member in our community (tell Zee), ranking a Portfolio Manager or above, you’ll get one free mug from us 😀 Find out here on how to be awesome.

Otherwise, you can still get this mug for $9.99 from our schwag store, amongst other things like our 300 Hours hoodies – check it out! 


Be a morning person with Phillip’s Wake-Up Light

We’ve heard excellent reviews from friends that use this, so thought we’d feature it here, as we are big advocates of getting proper sleep 😉

So for those of you finding waking up in the morning tough (especially in winter), this light helps minimize the grogginess associated with the sudden blaring alarm you have. With a gradual light mimicking sunlight and a natural, gentle sound (or radio if preferred), you’ll be awaken in the right stage of your sleep and start the day with your best foot forward. 

For $89 on Amazon, it’s a great investment for the year ahead!


Get some great earphones for the long CFA study sessions

Earphones are much better than headphones for studying: you don’t have the extra weight on your head, and if you get used to that, the actual exam day might throw you off as you’re not allowed to bring it into the exam hall.

So what would be great earphones to have for studying?

I would not recommend spending heaven and earth for a bunch of earphones for CFA studying. After all, you should be concentrating on your CFA topics! Luckily, with the technological advances these days especially with music players, you can get great earphones at pretty great prices.

My recommendations would be either the Creative EP-630 or the Sennheiser CX 300 II. Both are noise-isolating earphones (i.e. they block noise), so on exam day you can just substitute with earbuds. The Creative is a great affordable option and the Sennheiser costs a bit more, so adjust depending on how much you want to spend.

If you’ve taken the CFA exam recently, we hope it went well! What will you be up to before the year is out? Share your plans with us in the comments below.

Zee Tan
Author: Zee Tan

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