12 career tips I wish someone had told me in my 20s

The transition from your twenties to thirties is major. For many of us, the decisions we make during these pivotal years ultimately define our trajectory throughout our careers.

As I watch my friends navigate this change, I can’t help but reflect on the advice I wish I had in my 20s before I turned 30. So I asked a few people already with successful careers what their advice would be, and combined with some of my own.

Here are ten tips that I would have liked to know when I was 20.

1. Choose a career you love, not the one that pays the most

This is very common advice. If you’re just trying to be successful just for the fun of it, then you’re going to have a hard time being happy in your career. That alone is a measure of failure for many people.

“If you are thinking of embarking on a new career, try the Passion-Talent-Market framework,” said Vikas Kalwani, head of partnerships at digital publishing relations firm uSERP. “Start by thinking about everything you’re passionate about, then choose the passions you’re good at (these are your talents). Finally, see if there is a market for these talents. You are bound to find a niche where you can develop a business or career that will make you happy in the long run.

2. Never lie or exaggerate on your CV

If you’re going to lie on your resume, why bother applying for the job in the first place? You might think you can get away with a bit of embellishment here and there, but more often than not someone is going to find out.

Plus, employers will usually see through and know you lied on your application form, possibly even blacklisting you for future positions. Avoid this at all costs.

3. Take risks

When you’re young, you can afford to take risks because you have all the time and energy to get back on your feet if things don’t work out. In these cases, you will be wiser than before. If they work, you’ll be more successful than before, so it’s a win-win situation.

If you are planning to invest your money in the stock market, change jobs, change careers, or even move to a new city, go for it! If there’s a chance that doing something will get you closer to your goals, it’s a good risk to take at this point in your life.

4. Don’t be afraid to apply for a job you love, even if you don’t meet all the requirements.

This is a tip I would have liked to have followed in my early twenties, as it would probably have landed me a job that I loved much more than my first one.

“If you are applying for a job and you don’t feel too comfortable with your chances, you should still apply because it’s still worth it,” said Aniruddh Nagodra, co-founder of factoHR, a payroll software. “You’ll be surprised how flexible recruiters can be when it comes to requirements. ”

Job postings are usually just a wishlist of the skills they deem most relevant, but there are a lot of other things that determine whether or not you will be a good fit, so they always consider applicants. who do not necessarily have all the skills on the list.

5. You can always change careers later

I made the mistake of overthinking my career at the start. I thought I would be interested in something for the rest of my life, but it turned out to be just a phase. The good thing about being in your 20s is that you have a lot of life ahead of you and you can afford to make mistakes in choosing your career path.

“Even if you don’t know which direction you want to go,” said Jake Eisenberg, chief operating officer of SMB Compass, a small business finance company. “It’s better to start working now and change careers later than to sit down and accumulate unemployment experience. “

6. Start networking early

One of the keys to success is connecting with the right people, which is why networking is so important. The point is, you might not know who the right person is until later in life, which is why it’s so important to meet as many people as possible and keep in touch as often as possible.

“Message or call them every now and then to monitor their progress and offer help whenever you can,” said Alladdine Djaidani of the entrepreneur blog Hustler Ethos. “You never know: the next CEO of your dream company might turn out to be someone you’ve networked with for years. “

7. Never stop learning

The most important thing to do when starting any new project or goal is to keep learning. You can never know everything about something, so there is always plenty of room to learn more.

“To continually grow as a person, you must constantly read and research information on topics that interest you,” said Deepak Juneja, CEO of web design company Tech Webers. “It will make a difference in how you approach other projects and topics that you may not be as familiar with. “

8. Reach out to people you admire

I was so afraid of being rejected that I hardly ever reached out to others, even people I admired in my own industry. But that gradually changed, and looking back on it now, I can only wonder: why didn’t I start contacting people sooner?

“Being more social would have helped me move my other projects much faster and also helped me network,” said Waqar Azeem, CEO of social media management company ContentStudio. “I’ve learned now that social media is growing exponentially – as is compound interest – so it’s worth spending time on it early on. “

9. Don’t let your job define you

A lot of people put so much energy into their jobs that when they come home at night they don’t know who they are. It’s important not to let work consume your life and your identity. You should also try to experiment with things outside of work, as this will give you more perspective on what your job really is.

10. Take a year or two to find out what it’s like to work in another country

I have spent several years traveling the world, and what I have learned is that the grass is often greener elsewhere. I can tell you from personal experience that visiting different countries and being exposed to different cultures, work ethics and values ​​really changes your perspective on life and your career.

I wouldn’t give up these experiences for the world.

11. Don’t let your work be your only source of income.

A lot of people think that having a job is the only way to make a living, but that’s not necessarily true, especially not today. There are tons of side activities you can do from almost anywhere that can fit into your schedule to help you earn more money and worry less about what would happen if you lost your job. Securing a good stream of passive income is also a great way to free yourself from traditional jobs.

12. Decide for yourself what success looks like

I left this one for last, but it’s one of the most relevant advice I can offer. In your career and in life, you should always be running your own race. For me, success is defined by my personal happiness and my work-life balance: enough money to live a comfortable life and travel, time to spend with my friends and family doing things we love together without the guilt. nor exhaustion from doing too much, whether it is work or leisure. Once you know what your idea of ​​success is, take those first steps to get there ASAP!

The bottom line

You have to decide for yourself what success looks like and work towards that goal by choosing a career that you are passionate about. Networking from an early age will go a long way in opening new doors and providing great career opportunities. Fight financial stress in any way you can by managing your personal finances. These tips will help you adopt a more balanced lifestyle that will make you feel more fulfilled at home and at work.

About Nereida Nystrom

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