Thinking about the future can be tough, especially when it comes to your career. But having a plan in place and working on your professional growth can make you a more well-rounded, employable person – and help you get further ahead in your industry.
Today, we’ve put together five things that you should do for your career by the time you’re 30. While we’re not saying that every box needs to be ticked off the list before you hit that magical number, taking note of these suggestions could have a major impact on your career.
Feedback can be tough, especially when you’re just starting out in your industry and want to impress. But knowing where you’re not meeting up to expectations is one of the only ways you can learn and grow as a professional, so being able to listen to feedback without taking it to heart is one of the most valuable skills you can learn. You can break down feedback to improve as a professional by listening, thanking people for their feedback, deconstructing the comments and requesting time for a follow-up, so you can show that you’ve learned from your experiences.
On the other hand, being able to give feedback is equally as important, especially if you’ve got your eyes on a managerial position. Learn how to give feedback constructively. Be timely, be specific, and do it in private – nobody wants to be called out for making a mistake in front of the entire office. And remember to talk about the positives: try the feedback sandwich approach .
We all like to think we’re good at our jobs, but the chances are that you’re better at some things than others. Knowing your superpower – that one thing that you truly excel in – will help to set you apart from other candidates when applying for jobs or launching your own business.
But how do you know what you excel in? How do you know which skills are more finely tuned than others? As well as speaking to colleagues and higher-ups at work, you could conduct a skills audit to determine where your strengths and weaknesses lie and invest in training in the areas where you think you need to improve the most. Over time, you’ll become a more balanced professional – and you can further hone your one ‘superpower’ skill as you go through life.
Considering it’s only two letters long, the word “no” is one of the hardest to get right. Perhaps we’re worried it’ll make us appear rude, or cut off opportunities for future growth or promotion.
For many of us, saying no can be hard work, whether that’s to a boss who’s piling on too much work, an offer on a contract that’s just too low, or an annoying coworker who won’t leave you alone. But if you can’t say no, you’ll forever be at the mercy of a manager or another member of staff, and you’ll be playing catch up while your peers get ahead and make leaps in their career.
However, the good news is that learning to say no is easy , so get practicing. Always keep your responses simple, buy time by saying you’ll get back to people, or consider compromises to keep the peace. Just remember to be true to yourself, and don’t say yes when you don’t want to.
Facebook, Twitter, and Google are now amongst some of the first places potential employers look for us online, so if you want to make the right first impression, then it’s time to clean up your digital presence. Change your privacy settings on personal accounts, delete any public posts that may not sit well with your boss, and eliminate undesirable content from Google , too.
While we’re on the subject of cleaning up your online presence, don’t forget about your LinkedIn account. Consider this your most important digital platform – clients, employers, contacts, and recruiters will start their search for you on the social network, so make sure it’s in top condition.
Whether you’re only just starting out in IT or engineering, or you’ve been working within the industry since you finished school, impostor syndrome is real – and it can happen to the best of us. But unless you overcome your insecurities and have faith in your ability as a professional, you’ll always be plagued by self-doubt and you be able to land a new position or climb the career ladder at work.
There are lots of ways that you can get over your impostor syndrome. First, identify the cause of your lack of confidence, remind yourself of your achievements as a professional and surround yourself with other professionals. Be prepared to take risks – apply for that new job or promotion – and learn to accept compliments. The more success you have with your job, the less likely you are to feel like you’re not good enough. And if that doesn’t work, try speaking to a career coach.