Your twenties are the probably the most awesome years of your life just yet (you’re finally old enough to do everything you want, not bound by the responsibilities of thirty-somethings), but they can also be quite terrifying. Although you probably figured out where you want to go, you most likely don’t know how to get there yet (also know as the delightful twenty-something paradox).
Turning a job into a career is what your twenties are for. It’s the perfect time to work on your future as you’re finally old enough to make your own choices with a long term goal in mind. So for all ambitious twenty-somethings out there, here are eight career moves you should make before turning thirty:
Build a network
First things first: let’s build up a network – that’s where it all begins. The more you run in to different business(wo)men and the more often they hear your name drop, the more likely it is that they’ll remember you. So attend events that interest you, talk to people you don’t know and try to make new contacts: who knows what they might do for you in the future. And when you attend a networking event, don’t forget to bring a few business cards. This way, your new contacts will be able to reach you. There’s no harm in giving them a little reminder, right? ; )
Be specific about what you (want to) do
One of the, if not the, most frequently asked questions when it comes to careers is: “What is it that you (want to) do exactly?” If somebody asks you this, make sure you won’t be standing there not knowing what to say. Think about how you want to answer this question beforehand: give a short but complete answer and make sure it can also be understood by people outside of your profession.
Invest in your network
Part of building up a network is meeting with influential people. Networking events are perfect little ponds to catch new contacts, but keeping in touch afterwards is just as important. After meeting people at an event, invite them for a coffee to discuss ideas further, or request a lunch. Don’t forget to always pay the check though: you’re the one asking for favors after all.
Work on your resume
Nowadays, going to college or university isn’t enough anymore. To stand out from the crowd, it’s important that your resume is one to be remembered. Intern or volunteer at companies that you’re interested in, so companies will see that you have experience and that you’re motivated to work hard. Add anything that’s relevant to your resume and make sure you use an immaculate layout: businesses judge resumes by their cover too.
Go to multiple job interviews
It’s all about opportunities… so when a job interview comes along, take it. It might not be at the company of your dreams, but you have to start somewhere. It’s also good to keep in mind that the more interviews you do, the better you get at selling yourself. So when that dream-job does come along, you’ll know exactly what you have to say to get it!
Keep improving yourself
Yes! You’ve landed the job. But now that you’re working at a company, it doesn’t mean you should stop making an effort. Work hard, be motivated and keep improving yourself. There’s always room for progress and after a while, your boss will notice. Remember: the ones who work hard are (most often) the ones who will get promoted.
Work two jobs if necessary
Especially when you’re just starting a job, your salary probably isn’t what you expected it to be: you might even be an intern before you’re offered a contract. Though this might hold you back initially, you should consider the offer to intern or work at a low(er) salary if (and only if!) the job is worth it. This way you can put it on your resume, building it with brands you love.
As your role within a company grows, you slowly earn the right to make demands. After working at a company for a few years, you should be able to ask for a bigger workload, an exciting new project and a raise. Even though asking for a raise can be terrifying, don’t be afraid to request it. It’s not as weird as you think it is and if you don’t do it, you might not get it!
Have you already taken one of these big career-steps? How did it go?