One’s 20s are sometimes regarded as the defining decade or the ‘quarter life crisis’.
Don’t make the mistake of wasting away your twenties on meaningless games, experimentation and partying. Use your twenties as the opportunity to develop and secure your future.
Here are ten recommended careers moves you can execute while still in your 20s.
1. Don’t be afraid to take big risks
Your 20s is the best decade of your life to take a calculated but significant risk particularly for the sake of your dream job.
Your 30s and above are usually the years for raising and providing for a family, so it’s better to take a risk while you’re young without risking the livelihood of your family in the process.
A very small percentage of people actually achieve their dream job, so go for it while there’s still time.
2. Save money
It feels good to spend money. We’ve all done it. Sometimes when you go to the store, it feels wrong to leave without buying something — Pay day comes and you go insane. And it’s very easy to waste money on junk food little by little over the months while the waste piles up. It’s always great to plan for your future and save as much money as your can for those important life decisions.
You want to be prepared for all unforeseen circumstances whether it’s starting your PhD, your wedding or deciding to travel to Europe. It’s a good idea to “set aside six to 12 months of living expenses. You don’t want to panic or change your lifestyle if something bad happens like injury, sickness, or job loss.”
3. Perfect your resume
Don’t wait until your 30s to perfect your resume. Your resume should be beautiful long before you enter your 30s and should set you up for a bright future.
Gain the necessary experience and skills towards your dream job during your 20s, and make sure it’s in your resume at the ideal time.
4. Get a mentor
Many famous, successful men and women were mentored or had a big inspiration to look up to. Steve Jobs was inspired by Albert Einstein and studied him through and through. Success coach, Tony Robbins, has worked with Bill Clinton, Hugh Jackman, Mother Teresa, Mike Tyson and Leonardo DiCaprio. Socrates mentored Plato and Plato mentored Aristotle.
A mentor is someone who has already been through all the hurdles that you’re about to endure and is willing to share their experiences with you while giving you sound advice. Learning from the best is always best.
5. A professional and ‘clean’ Facebook
If you’re having bad luck converting potential jobs even after many great job interviews, it’s possible you have your social media account(s) to blame. A survey has found that 43% of employers check social media profiles before making hiring decisions, and 46% of those who checked, rejected a candidate due to inappropriate photographs or information and 36% due to bad-mouthing their previous company or co-workers.
Make sure that the information you put on your Facebook is accurate and matches what you tell an interviewer, or keep your profile completely private.
6. Master the art of the interview
Your 20s should give you the opportunity to learn and master your ability to impress every interviewer. It’s much better to be too confident than timid.
It is true that some less qualified candidates can beat other candidates due to their interview skills. You have one shot to win a potential employer so make it count!
7. Lose your obsession with social media
Even though we live during the social media resolution, never forget the importance of face-to-face meetings, gatherings and interviews. Sometimes you have to put away your phone and spend real time with people – That includes your boss.
Why would your boss promote you if he doesn’t even like you? If you’re unable to put away your social media devices, this may negatively impact your social skills and ruin your next job interview/opportunity.
8. Learn the art of negotiating
Negotiating is commonly neglected by young job seekers especially due to fear of being turned down or ruining their chances at a new job. But mastering this art may pave the way to success in the long run.
Forty-five percent of employers are willing to negotiate initial offers. It can be foolish to instantly accept a job offer without any negotiation, especially if you know they like you. It can setback your future.
9. Establish a skill that makes you stand out
Demonstrate you are an asset by mastering a particular skill that sets you apart from other applicants. This may involve taking short courses to develop technical skills like funneling, Photoshop, Java, SQL or networking or even interesting skills like the ability to carry four plates at the same time.
One woman in my workplace has an essential skill to the success of her client’s business and apparently no one can do what she does. Her client is definitely going to want to keep her around a long time and even fight to keep her.
10. Exit graciously and professionally
When you know it’s time to move on to a better career path with a different company, remember to give your boss good notice and finish strong and professionally during your final periods.
This way you can keep a good relationship and have an excellent referral for long term benefits.
What are other smart career moves for those young in the professional world? Please comment below.