7 Pieces of Career Advice for Twenty-Somethings

A wise person once said that “your twenties is when things get all shaken up, and you spend the rest of your life sorting it out.”  While that may not be true for everyone, for most of us it’s in our twenties that we start down our career paths. We graduate, quickly turning from student to workforce drone with dreams for more.  With some help from Forbes, here is some career advice every twenty-something should know: 

1.       Show thanks
It might sound old-fashioned, but when someone performs an act of kindness they deserve a little gratitude. Thanks can be a hand-written card, an email, a smile, whatever’s appropriate for the situation. Expressing your appreciation shows that you don’t take things granted and leaves the recipient with a long-lasting positive impression of you.  And, if you believe in this sort of stuff, you get out of the world what you put out into it.

2.       Stay hopeful, stay humble
The newly popular Lokai bracelets have adopted the meaning "stay hopeful, stay humble" to remind wears that life is full of highs and lows but nothing is permanent. Whether or not you sport the fashion statement, we can all apply the lessons learned in good and bad times to maintain a steady course throughout our life journey.  

3.       Don’t expect anyone else to be a better advocate for your talents than yourself
Ideally, you’ll always have people in your life who see your potential and can help you along your career path. Take their advice, but don’t let their help supersede what you really want or desire. Believe in yourself  and always stand up for what you are working for.

4.       Maintain positive professional relationships
In short, don’t burn your bridges. You never know when you might cross paths with an old coworker -- or what role you’ll be in down the road. Especially if you’re following a similar career path, former coworkers may end up being your best advocate one day. 

5.       Surround yourself with positive people
People who drain your energy and distract you from your goals are poisonous to both your professional and personal life. Invest time in cultivating positive relationships and know when enough is enough from those who fuel the negativity.

6.       Enjoy the extra dough
Be fun, but be practical. It’s not necessarily about treating yourself to a shopping spree, but rather finding little ways to better your life and your state of mind. It can be as easy as setting up a savings account and make steady deposits to investing the max in your retirement account. Whatever it is, be smart and always believe you can be successful in anything you truly want.

7.       Remember that interviewing is a two-way street
It’s important to take advantage of opportunities when they arise, especially early in your career, but it’s more important to feel valued and contribute to an organization in which you believe. You’re going to be spending 40 hours a week there -- make it something you believe in.

You’re going to make mistakes in your twenties, and that’s fine. Learn from them and try not to make them twice. Invest in yourself and your future, and eventually, it’ll pay off. Promise.