Career advice for young adults: tips from a 25 y/o


When I’m 50 I’ll probably look back at this article and think how naive and young I was to think I had so much figured out in life. And it’s true, because the older we get, the more experience we gain and the more we know about everything. However, I recently turned 25 just a few days ago and the experiences I’ve gone through like working abroad, being an intern, working full-time jobs, balancing work and a long-distance relationship, amongst other things, have taught me a lot. Therefore, I have some career advice for young adults and people starting their career that I would like to share in this post.

Most of us who are close to being 30 years old are kind-of-possibly-most-definitely gone through or going through the infamous quarter-life crisis wondering if we’re on the right path in life and living up to our younger self’s expectations. And even if I’ve only been in a grown-up job for a few years, I feel like I can give the career tips for college students I wish I had gotten when I started my first internship and had no clue what I was doing.

Here are 10 of many tips I’ve been given since I started my career:

1. Don’t obsess over money

The first piece of career advice for young adults worth mentioning is to not be fixated on money. Whilst the whole purpose of working is to make a living, when you’re in your early 20s and starting out you should be focused on getting experience, rather than a good paycheck. So don’t choose your starting jobs based on how much you can make, but rather based on what skills and competences that job position can provide you to grow your level of expertise and land your dream job in the future.

 2. Ask 3 important questions at the end of every interview

During interviews, we are usually so focused on trying to impress the employer, that we often leave without knowing anything about the company or if we want to take the position we’re interviewing at all. And because I’ve done my fair amount of interviews and thus my fair amount of research to ace them, one tip that has stuck to with me since day one is to ask the following 3 key questions  to see the values of the company, what you’re going to get yourself into and a clear insight of the office culture and environment. The questions are:

  • What Will Be the Biggest Challenge for the Person Filling This Position?

  • Why Is This Position Available?

  • What Would Other Employees Say Is the Best Part About Working Here? 

3. Don’t wait to be motivated. Motivate yourself

This is probably one of the most valuable tips for young professionals I can give you. Have you heard of the quote ‘If you start when you’re ready, you will be waiting for the rest of your life’? This quote is basically saying that you shouldn’t wait to be motivated to start, but rather seek motivation because it only comes within oneself. Our goal should be to be driven by intrinsic motivation and take opportunities to learn and to feel good with ourselves rather than to gain external rewards like money, prices or praises from your boss.

4. A degree doesn’t assure you a job

This piece of career advice is for young adults and for anyone that does not have a degree in their field or a degree at all. I'm definitely one of those, and I am currently about to reach my 2-year mark at a marketing agency where I enjoy my job a lot. What has gotten me this job is the various internships I’ve done in the field, my passion for writing and my dedication to pursue opportunities. And yes, I have gotten hired over people with marketing degrees and masters. Titles that ~sadly~ I don’t have but that I compensate with other very valuable skills and accomplishments.

5. Don’t stop learning

As a young professional, you should continuously be checking job offers in your industry to see what companies are asking for. That is because your goal should be to keep building your CV with skills like languages, personal projects and specialized courses to have more to offer to future companies and become more competent.

6. Take care of your mind the same way you take care of your body 

An article giving career advice for young adults would not be complete without the number one thing I’ve learned how to do since starting my full time job. And that is acknowledging and managing anxiety and stress. More times than not, and because we spend the majority of the day at work, stress comes from something related to our job. So the same way we go to the gym to keep a fit and healthy body, we should also journal, meditate and even see a therapist to cope with our emotions and ensure we are dealing with them properly and change whatever we have to change to live a happier life.

7. Learn that your career is not always linear

Graduating at 22 and finding a full time job right after college doesn’t always equal success. Your career is not always linear, meaning that there will be lots of ups and downs until you get where you want to be. One of the best career tips for college students I can give you is to not compare yourselves to other people and learn from your mistakes. If you are consistent and hard-working you will eventually land your dream job, even if you encounter some setbacks and fail along the way.

8. Work abroad if you get the chance

Speaking from experience, I have to say employers like it a lot when they see you have spent some time abroad. After working in Scotland for a year, in every interview I had back home I would get asked TONS of questions about my experience.  Working abroad benefits your CV immensely because it not only shows personal growth and your ability to appreciate a new culture, it also gives you the possibility to stand out from other candidates in interviews!

9. Say Thank you!

‘When it comes to succeeding as a young professional, it really does take a village, and you’re not getting there on your own’. A huge piece of career advice for young adults that cannot go unnoticed but usually does is how important it is to be grateful. If someone is taking their time to help you, teach you, helps you get an internship, etc., you should always thank them because they could give you job references in the future even if you’ve lost touch with them. Having connections and friends in the field is something that we young professionals don’t appreciate, but that is extremely important and valuable.

10. Only take advice from people who have what you want

Some people love to give their opinion on how you’re living your life and unless it’s your parents, your partner or your boss, you shouldn’t listen to them because most of them speak out of jealousy. Trust me, the amount of times I’ve had to deal with comments from close family members saying that I should study this to get here and there and that speaking languages won’t get me far without a degree in the field I want to work in… These comments sometimes get to me, but mind you they're no Steve Jobs or are nowhere near close to where I want to be in life! 

So one of the most valuable tips for young professionals is to take advice from people who are where you want to be, that work in the same industry as you and that can help you grow and better yourself.

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