Careel success loves dedicated, hard-working individuals who know what they're after and grasp every opportunity to learn and grow. With an enormous number of possible career direction, opportunities to set up your own business or become an online influencer, it's possible to find a career type and style of work you'll be happy with. However, the secrets of career success are pretty much similar. As long as you take the right steps, stay persistent and have a clear plan at the top of your mind, you can be sure to reach your goals sooner or later.
A lot depends on doing the right things in the right time, though. Every accomplished professional can think of the steps taken in their twenty-something that eventually contributed to career success in their 30s. Some things should be done as early as possible while you're at the top of your flexibility and learning capacity. Below, our professional resume writing experts have collected a list of suggestions that you and your career can benefit from.
Also in this section:
Key things to do for career success
Resume writing and career experts know that each career situation is unique, as well as each path to success is. Still, the age between early 20s and early 30s is perfect to lay the foundation of your professional future. Here’s where you can get started:
- Take your career as a marathon, not sprint
Productivity and workplace efficiency has become the big thing over the past decades. With the loads of productivity methods and tools out there, everyone seems to be keen on working faster and harder. Although this approach may work in short term, it’s not the best way to build a stable career.
Millennials, who will dominate the workforce quite soon, are the impatient generation. We want to get things done and receive a reward as soon as possible. Nevertheless, it’s more effective to take small steps towards the professional goal than to burn out at work trying to outperform. Stay calm and prioritize between work and life. Workaholism rarely leads to career success and happiness in general.
- Stay focused to reach excellence
In our early 20s, we are often fascinated by many things and keep several possible career directions in mind. It seems that time is more than enough to succeed at various fields. However, later on comes an understanding that getting really good at something takes years of hard work and ongoing learning. On that note, some remember the famous ’10,000 hours rule’ which states that one should spend 10,000 hours doing something before they get successful.
To build a successful career, it’s important not to spread your efforts. Choose your specialization early and concentrate all your time and efforts on it. The more focused you are, the more chances you get to deepen your expertise and become a superstar. Persistence and patience can really work wonders on your career (these two traits are also important to avoid punctuation errors in resume).
- Put family top of mind while your kids are young
As we’ve mentioned above, taking regular efforts and treating your career is a marathon is necessary to succeed in the long run. However, life isn’t entirely about work, and any career is worth missing important life and family events. In certain cases, it makes sense to choose another important priority – for example, when your kids are young.
The truth is, your kids will grow up faster than you have expected and if you focus on work during that time, you’re going to regret it. Not only you’ll miss your children most important stages of life, but will also lose the opportunity to learn from them. Kids give you a second chance to look at the outside world differently and value simple things. The inspiration you get from them inevitably will affects all areas of your life (If you need more sources of inspiration, see here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/10-ways-to-find-lost-desire-and-inspiration).
- Don’t only network with people of your age
A lot was told about the perks of network when it comes to finding a new job, getting promoted or enriching yourself with new fresh ideas. To fully benefit from networking, though, you need to collaborate with people who are much older (or younger) than you. If you’re in the middle of your 20s, you should seek older mentors and make connections with someone who has vast experience in the area where you are only starting. Not only they can open doors for you, but also give some valuable advice that will save your time and efforts. The life experience of people of your age is pretty similar to yours, and sometimes we all need a pretty different perspective at our career. If you are older, contacts with young professionals will keep you inspired with their ideas and fresh perspective at things.
Are you experiencing career crisis? Here’s how to deal with it effectively: http://resumeperk.com/blog/career-crisis-why-does-it-happen-and-what-to-do.
- Work with friends
Often, working for the company full of your friends is too much to ask. However, if such an opportunity arises, be sure to take it. Having good relationships with people in the office helps us get more relaxed, more inspired and express ourselves freely. We spend at least 8 hours a day working, and when we have a chance to spend this time side by side with someone we like, it can really make you happy with your work.
Of course, you won’t be working with your best friends throughout your career. However, this experience is definitely worth trying. If you get an opportunity, be sure to hire a friend. The idea of working with friends works even better in startup environment.
- Don’t work for horrible bosses
Just like working with friends can turn an average day into a holiday, having a terrible boss can spoil your life even if you love your job in general. Bad temper, wrong directions, unfair criticism you need to face every day boost your workplace stress. It goes without saying that career growth and productivity are barely possible under such circumstances.
Life is too short to tolerate bad bosses. You should only allow this scenario if you are broke – however, start looking for a new job as soon as possible. Working in stressful environment with people that make you feel bad is never worth it in the long run.
- Master the skill of interviewing
Interviewing is a huge stress for most of us. There are so many factors to take into consideration plus the feeling of being evaluated. Even the highly-qualified professionals often feel insecure during interviews. However, since your career depends on the skill of making the employer like you, it’s a good idea to master it early on.
Attend as many interviews as possible and even if you don’t like the job, see this as another chance to practice. Practice in front of a mirror and with your friend (or family member). Learn the questions that make your success at interview and the tricks to reduce interview stress. The ability to make an instant positive impression at the hiring manager, negotiate your package and feel comfortable in a new environment will only benefit your career in all aspects.
Need more guidance on successfully passing interviews? Read here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/20-important-tips-for-successful-job-interview.
- Take the opportunity of attending corporate trainings
It’s no surprise that road to career success goes through learning and honing your skills. That’s why if the company offers corporate trainings, you should grab this opportunity. Consider it as an investment into your career, and take on as many courses as you can.
If you’re not sure about the type of training or certification to choose, stay on those which are critical for the position you’d like to obtain one day. Review a few job postings and take a look at the required and preferred skills. If you see some skills or certifications you don’t have yet, make them your top learning priority. Quality trainings and courses are expensive, and not every employer offers training opportunities. Meanwhile, taking several trainings every year will not only benefit your career in your 30s, but also will help you get more productive and business-oriented in short term.
The best career is the one which is aligned with your personal development. To understand why developing as a personality at the workplace is important, see here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/importance-of-personal-development-in-the-workplace.
- Take risks
The most accomplished professionals state that your 20s is the best time to take risks, both in career and in your life in general. Later on, we take on more responsibilities and get more cautious. So, if you are in your 20s and are thinking over doing something extravagant, this is the perfect time to do so. You can head to another state for a few months, join a startup at an early stage or try yourself in a completely different field.
The experience with taking career risks has several benefits. Firstly, you’ll be able to put ‘risk management’ as a skill on your resume. Secondly, the out-of-box work experience broadens your comfort zone and helps you understand yourself and your pace of work better. And finally, getting used to taking risks will make you a better leader at the workplace.
Are you considering changing your career path? Then, see which risks you need to take into account before making a decision: http://resumeperk.com/blog/assess-all-kinds-of-risks-of-starting-a-new-career.
- List your career non-negotiables
Understanding and articulating your needs when looking for the job will save you weeks during the job search and will minimize your chances of hitting the wrong organization. If you want to work your way up, you need to value your time and efforts. Understanding your top expectations from the job will help you do so.
First of all, you need to be completely honest with yourself about what you want from your employer and your career in general, and ditch the job opportunities which don’t match. Obviously, if you want to go through the ranks, joining the small business with no vertical career trajectory isn’t the best option. Or, if you are a mom who wants to spend as much time with the toddler as possible, positions with fixed schedule might not be the right fit. The same works with ethical reasons: if you protect the environment, the huge chemical plant isn’t the best choice of career as you’ll feel unhappy despite the money you are paid.
Non-negotiables are important to make your career priorities clear. However, make sure that they are realistic.
Is it a pay raise that you are going to negotiate? Learn which tactics work best: http://resumeperk.com/blog/secrets-how-to-ask-for-a-raise-just-follow-these-tips.
- Find your biggest strength
Knowing what your biggest professional strength is will help you develop more effectively and focus on the type of tasks you perform best. The most successful individuals know what they’re best at; so, if you haven’t discovered your superpower yet, it’s time to get started.
The simplest way is to write down things you do best and choose a few things you enjoy most among them – these are likely to be your key selling points. Ask your colleagues and friends to name your strength. Or, if you want a scientific approach, take an aptitude test online or consult a career counselor. When you get this question answered, you’ll find it easier to plan your future career. Moreover, you won’t have to puzzle over it during an interview as you’ll have an answer at hand.
Want to know the strengths and weaknesses of your resume? E-mail your resume to us and get critique from a professional resume writer.
- Learn to accept criticism
Your ability to accept criticism and respond to it appropriately directly affects how fast your career will progress. In other words, only when you know what you did wrong, you get the chance to improve it and advance your skills. To benefit from criticism, however, you need to take it in the right way. First of all, you should take criticism seriously, not personally. Criticism is not about you, but about your work, so learn to focus on facts and correct your mistakes. It’s from mistakes that we learn and grow faster.
Giving criticism and feedback is also critical for successful career. If you are planning on obtaining a leadership role, your ability to deliver constructive criticism will directly affect your team’s performance and motivation. However, it’s better to learn to give feedback early on so that it becomes your habit and you’ll feel comfortable with it.
Having troubles accepting criticism? This advice might help: http://resumeperk.com/blog/effective-ways-to-face-criticism-at-the-workplace.
- Find a trusted mentor or career advisor
When you are at the beginning of your career, you probably have little understanding about which strategies work, how to develop faster and how to handle tough situations at work. That’s why you can make a handful of mistakes which will be very costly for your career. Therefore, it’s important to find an older mentor and career advisor (if you manage to find several people, this is great).
A good mentor can help you overcome the setbacks of career path and give valuable advice to help you grow faster. The best mentor is someone who is an expert at something you want to be doing in 15 years from now. Don’t be afraid to approach such a professional – they are often positive about mentoring someone who is similar to themselves in their young age. The same works with career advisor. It’s a good idea even to pay someone to help you resolve career challenges you cannot resolve on your own. The advice and direction from seasoned, experienced professional is priceless.
Career advisor can help you with creating career plan as well. If you haven’t found him yet, you may start with taking advantage of these tips on career planning.
- Work abroad
Living and working abroad has multiple benefits both for your career and your personality. First of all, it adds value to your resume – overseas experience is always seen as a plus by the most reputable employers. Secondly, it throws you out of the comfort zone, making you more flexible, adaptable and stress-resistant – in other words, it forms the type of personality every employer wants to see onboard. And finally, such an experience gives you an insight into the culture and work ethics of different nation, which is priceless if you want to work for an international company.
Moreover, working overseas often involves learning a foreign language on a level that is sufficient for business communication. Needless to say that the language proficiency is another asset for your career in the long run. So, if you’ve always dreamt of this kind of experience, start with learning which skills and resources you’ll need to make it happen, and go from there.
Want to be an in-demand professional in your field? Check the top qualities of an ideal employee from the employer’s perspective.
- Polish your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn profile is your primary online point of contact for the professional connections. When a prospective employer, former co-worker or a potential client is looking for you online, they’re most likely to check your online page. And if they see a half-empty profile with outdated skills and missing picture, you might lose lucrative opportunities.
Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is complete and up-to-dated. Just like your resume, it needs to be attractive and present you at your best. Take your time to work at your online presence or hire someone to do this for you.
- Learn to write effective e-mails
Effective communication in all forms is one of those things that ease your way up the corporate ladder. Some people don’t bother much about learning business communication rules, but it’s something that contributes to the overall opinion about you. In particular, effective e-mail writing can even help you create an image of a hard-working, dedicated individual. Moreover, if online communication is one of your job responsibilities, excelling at it will add you points in the employer’s eyes.
If you don’t know how to create catchy, concise, effective e-mails, read our guide to writing effective e-mails.
- Maintain work-life balance
At the beginning of your career, you’re full of energy and have more than enough time to invest in your career. Nevertheless, don’t focus on work entirely. The happiest people are those who have learned to maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life. Invest enough time in life outside of work such as meeting with family or friends, taking on a new hobby and doing something just for yourself. This will keep you healthy, balanced and inspired.
Work provides us with the sense of meaning, lets us be helpful and contributes to our sense of well-being. However, even the stellar, accomplished career can’t substitute the other important aspects of life. Therefore, if you establish your work-life balance early on and will only correct it as your career evolves; you’ll save yourself from workaholism and have a happier life in general.
Want to know which qualities contribute to work success? Read our post to find out.
- Stay in touch with your connections
Some say that your professional network is one of biggest career assets you have. Knowing the right people who can open doors for you can be even more helpful that being well-educated and experienced in your field. Developing and maintaining a network of contacts, however, requires an effort from your side. Always stay in touch with people you used to study, work and volunteer with. If you resign from the job, leave on a good note without badmouthing your boss and former co-workers. Be ready to help someone from your network as well if they ask you about the favor. Your former connections can help you find clients or land a new job.
In your 20s, you lay the foundation of your future career success. Use this time to take career risks, learn from everywhere and broaden your professional network. Moreover, if you learn the skills which are important for your career early, you’ll have more chances for getting promoted and building the career you’ve always dreamt of. And, if you’re planning to find a new job, you’ll benefit a lot from resume written by an expert writer.
You may also like:
5 things that ruin your career
In addition to doing the right things at the right time, there are types of behavior you should avoid at work as they make the long-term negative impact on your career. Check out the 5 top career killers.
- Making lots of excuses
Everyone can face challenging work situation and have a real reason for not meeting the deadline or delivering less-than-acceptable quality of work. Nevertheless, if you always invent some reason why something hasn’t been done, you have a problem. Constantly making up excuses for everything ruins your credibility and can destroy your professional reputation. Moreover, this can indicate that you’re not that interested in the job (which isn’t helpful if you’re looking to make a career). Take ownership of your mistakes and do your best to correct them.
If you don’t know your career passion at the beginning of your professional path, that’s okay. Some of us need to try ourselves in different roles and even industries before we realize what exactly we’d like to do. However, if it’s been a year or two since you change jobs every three months, you get a negative image of a job-hopper. Employers beware of hiring job-hoppers as they invest money into finding and hiring someone who is likely to leave in a few months. Moreover, since you change jobs so often, you don’t have a chance to develop your skills at the level required for professional growth. Consider staying on your current job for a year or two and gain the experience and knowledge before decide whether this career path is right for you. You’ll have time to move on later on if something goes wrong.
- Getting distracted for personal reasons
Another thing that may slow your career down is getting busy with personal matters at work. Phone calls from your best friend, making online purchases or chatting on Facebook can take a considerable amount of the time you are supposed to spend working. Not only such distractions kills your productivity as you have less time to cope with your job duties, but also they can lead to dismissal if your boss is spying on you. Moreover, if you don’t devote enough time to job you don’t learn new things and therefore slow down your own career progression.
- Lack of professional development
Building a career assumes that you constantly learn new skills, expand your knowledge, acquire new contacts and seek the way of getting promoted. However, if it’s been a while since you proactively learned a new skill or updated your resume, your career is in trouble. The longer you stay in that comfort zone, the more potential opportunities you are missing.
In the era of Internet, you need to grow professionally all the time. Set a goal and do something that makes you closer to it, be it learning something new, taking training, obtaining certification or applying to the dream job. Staying on the job which offers no growth opportunities is a real career killer.
- Low emotional intelligence
To get the job, you need to meet the requirements for qualifications, education and years of expertise. To retain it and maintain your professional image, however, knowledge and intelligence are not enough. A lot depends on your emotional intelligence – your ability to communicate and collaborate with others effectively. Being a difficult personality at work won’t take you anywhere, as badmouthing others, arguing, interrupting others while they speak can hold down your professional development even if you are perfectly knowledgeable in your field.
Building the right relationships with colleagues is an important element of building a successful career. Check the taboo topics to discuss at work – and never bring them up in a conversation.
The bottom line
Just like in any other field, success in your career depends on taking the right steps and being persistent. Making the things from the above list early will help you lay the foundation for success in your 30s. Although the to-do career list will vary from industry to industry, the key things are the same: broaden your horizons, seize every opportunity to learn and grow, know your goals and maintain productive working connections. In this case, accomplishing your career goals will be a lot easier.
Is this a well-written resume that you lack to apply for a dream job opening? The expert resume writers of our team are here to help anytime you need job-search assistance. Your writer will present you on paper in the most favorable light and promote your strengths through quality writing. Check out our list of services and prices for more information and feel free to drop us a line anytime.
Have you done any of the above things for your career before 35? Did it help you reach the career goals?