Six things you should do now if you want to get ahead in your 20s

May 30, 2017
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Whether you’re graduating next year or in five years, it’s never too early to start thinking about your future. You might hear the conventional advice of ‘get an internship’ and ‘make your LinkedIn perfect’, but they’re not the only things that will help you succeed. Whether you want to stand out from your peers or have your shit sorted out in ten years’ time, there are some very simple things you can start doing now.

Read widely

Never underestimate the power of reading. Go beyond what your Facebook news feed gives you and bookmark some titles you can return to. It’s important to not only subscribe to news you like, but also news you don’t like. You might disagree with the opinion pieces or type of articles you read, but it will force you to think differently and challenge your perspective. You’ll be able to hold your own in workplace conversations and beyond if you have formed well-informed opinions.

Put away some savings with every pay check

It sounds simple, but most of us probably still don’t do it. Create a budget and set aside a certain amount every time you get paid. Place it in a separate bank account never to be touched and let it accrue interest. Even if you don’t get paid a lot, a small amount can go a long way. It could be the difference of having some rainy day funds that will help you out when you’re stuck in the future, as opposed to the alternative of credit card debt which is a hard hole to dig yourself out of.

Reflect on your mistakes

Mistakes can make you feel embarrassed or stupid, but instead of pushing the feeling out of your mind, reflect on what you did. You might feel super cringe-worthy dwelling on it, but you won’t learn from it if you don’t pinpoint where you went wrong. Instead of being in denial, embrace your mistakes and consider it a lesson learnt. If you do, you’re less likely to do it again.

Don't be afraid to put yourself out there

This can scary, particularly if you’re an introvert. But it’s so worthwhile to put yourself out there and make connections now that could be invaluable in your future. We know you’ve probably heard time and time again to network, but that isn’t the only way to make connections. Join uni societies and expand your friendship circle. Be open to meeting lots of new people – you never know when someone could recommend you for a job, just after seeing your potential from that one uni event.

Seriously, you need to travel

Lots of people have probably told you to do this, but we can’t quite stress it enough. It’s only when you’re travelling that you can fully step outside the bubble you grew up in. Challenge yourself by travelling to a country where English is the second language. You’ll learn so much about others and so much about yourself.

Have a plan

We get it, it’s hard to know what you want to do with the rest of your life when you’re this young. But if you want to get ahead, there’s nothing wrong with setting some goals and having a plan. The idea of a five-year plan sounds daunting, but it can help you to map out what you really want and make you feel a whole less lost. Start brainstorming and thinking about your hobbies or interests and it will help you get some idea about what you’d like to do with your future, even if it isn’t clear cut yet.