Your twenties are an important time to create the foundation for your professional life. It’s the period in which you start building your career. In reality, this learning period is really not that long. 

Staffing specialist Walters People outlines some ways to use this valuable time to gain basic skills and create a path for the rest of your career.

1. Allow yourself to make mistakes

“I’ve made an inexcusable mistake and I want to quit”. “I don’t think this job is for me”. You will probably have thoughts along these lines at the start of your career. However, your experience as an employee and your view of the world are still limited. Trying new things is inherently linked to making mistakes. Consider your mistakes as opportunities to learn, rather than failures. Don't be afraid to jump into the unknown and take on new challenges. When something does go wrong, take the time to reflect on your errors and use them to improve your skills. They will give you valuable experience on which to build towards future success.

2. Find a mentor

A mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser that you can respect. Try thinking of someone who inspires you. This can be a colleague, but just as well someone outside of your organisation. Examine what this person does and how they think, and seek advice regularly. You don't have to copy your mentor's behaviour too literally, but rather adjust your attitude and mindset. With this, you will quickly achieve positive results.

3. Have a lot of firsts

Since you started your career, how many firsts have you had? You might remember your first year in the job market as a frantic period full of new things every day. As the years and experience build, it is a reality that some parts of your life will fall into routine.

If you feel like every day is the same, it might be time to take a step outside of your comfort zone. Nothing makes you grow faster than new experiences. Don't just limit yourself to work-related challenges, but also seek new adventures in your personal life. It will help expand your views and open unforeseen possibilities.

4. Instead of money, accumulate experience

Of course, having a nice salary and being able to save money for your future is a positive thing. However, your twenties are a period in your life where you should invest in your own self development. On a small scale, consider what opportunities you are missing by not buying a particular book to save money. You might be denying yourself certain skills or knowledge that would have come in handy further down the line in your career. Do you feel like skipping afterwork drinks on Friday night? Make the extra effort anyway, who knows, you might just make the right connections for later career opportunities. Don't let money dictate bigger decisions too much either. Be sure before switching to a job with a better salary whether this job will not limit your growth opportunities in the long run. 

In your twenties, take advantage of your intellectual curiosity without suppressing your desire to know more, and secure your future wealth.

5. Invest in your relationships

As you mature in your twenties, it’s necessary to think again about the importance of relationships. For example, take the time to talk about your job to your friends and family, and ask about theirs as well. You might be inspired by their experiences, troubles and dreams. They are the people closest to you, so they’re in the best position to listen and formulate good advice. Building up a variety of relationships will help you develop a vision of what kind of career you would like to have, and what kind of life you would like to lead.

Next to your personal relationships, it’s also important to build a professional network. Connections are key in your career path. Being on good terms with many different people increases the chance of new opportunities and gives you many options to ask for recommendations and references.

Your twenties should be all about investing in yourself.  Imagine your career plan and life goals, and take advantage of the many opportunities to learn in your twenties without being afraid to make mistakes.  


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