070. 5 Genius Career Moves in Your 20s
For most women, the 20s can be an exciting age career wise. In your 20s you have a margin for error and the opportunity to explore different skills, passions and interests. This is perfectly okay and actually encouraged for you to discover the career that’s right for you and the things in life that matter most, as well as those pleasures that offer autonomy. Your primary focus at this stage in your life is finding yourself and what makes YOU happy, both personally and professionally. Although at this age there’s time for experimenting, you should be laying a stable foundation for your career. Here’s five genius career moves you should make in your 20s to optimize your chances for success.
Find a Mentor
Did you know men are 3 times as likely to have a career mentor as women? Men often seek out successful people in their industry to groom them for leadership roles. Likewise, women should learn to seek out other successful professionals in their career field for guidance. And your 20s is the perfect age to do so.
Why do you need a mentor? Because a mentor can show you what steps they took on their path to success and help you make connections with other successful people too. Having a mentor can help you eliminate unnecessary steps or mistakes. Every lesson does not need to be bought, if you have someone who is willing and able to prevent you from learning a lesson the hard way, I’d encourage you to take it.
Figure Out What Makes You Happy
Your top priority at this stage should be figuring out what makes you happy, who you are deep inside, your beliefs and values, your natural abilities, your passion for living, and most importantly your most authentic self. Various studies have shown time and time again women have three things that motivate us most in life, your soul craves fulfillment through autonomy, self-mastery, and purpose.
Autonomy, self-mastery and purpose are interdependent upon one another. Being happy is all about listening to your inner soul and doing what you love to do with passion and purpose. There is a part of you that no money, no man, nor material object can fill. This is only fulfilled through living a dynamic life satisfied through carrying out your life purpose and being true to who you are.
Advance Your Education
My motto for all career-minded women is you should be a student of your profession. This means you should always be growing professionally. A strong career is rooted in cultivating your knowledge base and skillset continuously. You could go back to school to get a higher education degree. Women currently are dominating the Master’s degree game! Continued development is a great way to boost your credentials to earn more money and create more leverage for salary negotiations.
Aside from formal education from university, consider other professional development avenues such as conferences and workshops in your career field. There are likely certifications or further training available for you regardless of the industry you are in.
Getting ahead in your career may mean taking risks to get there. Your 20s is as good a time as any to take risks. If you are going to take big risks it’s best to do it while you have more flexibility in your career and prior to family obligations. Once women get married and have children we are less likely (and willing) to take risks, we prefer stability and leave less room for compromise in our careers. If you are thinking about leaving a job, making a career pivot, or starting your own business, explore away while you have the freedom!
Negotiate Your Pay
As women we really have to step it up, 57% of men negotiate salaries for their job compared to only 7% of women. Shocking right?! The income you make in your 20s sets the tone for the income throughout the course of your career. Millennials are estimated to change jobs 7 times in their 20s, and actually expect to change jobs every 2-3 years. At age 22 the average pay for women is $31,900 with a college degree. On average a women’s salary plateaus at age 39 with an average salary of $60k/yr. with a college degree.
Here’s the bottom line. When it comes to negotiating the odds really are in your favor: 25% of those who negotiate their salary get more than what they expected and only 15% of people who try got nothing for it. When negotiating you have two key goals, be prepare for the money conversation and to not leave anything on the table. In your 20s you can be flexible with money and fringe benefits. So even if you are not able to get the salary you want, consider other perks you may want to work in, such as more vacation time, parking, are a better job title.
Don’t wait! Start making these career moves in your 20s to provide a great foundation for your career. Taking these steps now to empower yourself can help you achieve the success you want.