Your 20s begin with you in college and then you transition into the work force. By the end of this decade, you’ll be pretty settled into your life and your career. The choices you make during these years will dictate your future up until retirement.

 

That’s a pretty scary thought. Even though you’re young and free, the decisions you make carry a lot of weight. If you want to enjoy the rest of your life while maximizing your potential, you need to make the following moves in your career before you hit 30.

 

  1. Take whatever job you can find

Don’t act like you’re entitled to your dream job just because you spent four years in college learning a set of skills. Be willing to take any job that’s available to you. Work hard, and you never know what rewards will follow or what new opportunities will come your way.

 

  1. Take time to network

Get to know people with different backgrounds and skill levels as well as different experiences. Learn from them, and you might even be offered some unique opportunities. Don’t settle for social networking online. Get face-to-face to establish real relationships.

 

  1. Volunteer

Volunteering is a great addition to a resume, and you never know who you will meet. You’ll find major CEOs, managers and community leaders attending these events, and you just might make an important connection. At the very least, you’ll develop a connection with your community.

 

  1. Develop new skills

Graduating college doesn’t mean the end of learning, and now is the prime time to continue. You don’t have a lot of obligations, so improve your skill set. Take free or low-cost classes and attend seminars. Be willing to branch out and try a new skill even if it ends up not being for you. The experience could prove important in the future.

 

  1. Diversify

Unless you are already in your dream job, don’t stay in the same position too long. While many experts frown on job-hopping, it won’t hurt you as long as you can prove why you made the changes. You’ll learn more about the professional world in general and yourself.

 

  1. Be a risk taker

Try something new. You don’t have as much to lose when your career is just starting. Start a new business, move across country. Don’t let fear keep you from taking a risk. You never want to regret the things you didn’t do. This may be your only chance to see what else is out there.

 

  1. Create talking points

No matter what job you’re in, you’ll have the opportunity to do something work talking about. It may be a project, award or achievement that you can add to a resume or include in a future interview. These talking points will be what makes you stand out.

 

Perhaps the most important tip for you in your 20s is to make mistakes. Be willing to do something dumb or crazy because you will learn. You’ll develop more confidence as you see messing up wasn’t the disaster you thought it would be. After all, you have the rest of your life to work on being perfect.

 

 

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