Career Advice For Women In Their Twenties
Lisa Bourke, Content Hive Founder
I get it. Even on the best days, trying to navigate life in your twenties is somewhat of a rollercoaster. You have enough drive and energy to take on the entire world. BUT… you have no money, and nobody is taking you seriously enough to get anywhere.
“Looking back, I wish I had the hindsight to know that your twenties is the time in your life for learning, failing and growing — embrace it, and hold on for one wild ride.”
Unlike what they tell you, you don’t have to finish school and know what the rest of your life is to look like. You really do have to get out there and try different things — each will be a stepping stone, to get you to who you are meant to become. So here is my advice for today’s twenty-something’s.
Self Educate (And Never Stop Learning)
Although I have a degree in Advertising and Public Relations, most of the skills that I use on a day to day basis are self-taught. I educated myself in graphic design principals via books, long before YouTube was a “thing”. This boiled down to the fact that I knew I wanted to eventually start my own business, and that I was going to need a logo. While you have the energy, use your twenties to upskill and learn as much as you possibly can. Trust me — your thirty year old self will thank you for it.
Use Podcasts And Audiobooks When You Drive Or Catch Public Transport
I’m not saying you have to give up channeling Beyonce, but there’s a lot of spare time to be found when we’re in transit. I’ve found that one of the fastest and non time consuming ways to learn is to listen to podcasts and audiobooks when I’m busy doing other things. If you’re not a big fan of reading — or simply don’t have the time — listening to basically any of the wide range of topics available is a great way to absorb information on the go.
Start Practicing A Daily Vision Statement
If you get in the car to drive somewhere new, to avoid getting lost you’re going to need a map. A vision statement is the map you need to help you achieve long term goals. I write down and memorise exactly where I want to be in three to five years time. Nobody else sees it, so don’t be afraid to dream big — and know that it’s okay if your goals or your path changes, as your priorities might change along the way so can your vision statement.
Don’t Be Afraid To Be Yourself
The sooner you embrace who you are — the better. More experienced peers, colleagues and bosses will see right through any phony personas or attempts to be anything other than exactly what you are. In business (and in life), being authentic is a superpower that will leave long lasting impressions and will help you to get noticed. Ultimately, the only person you should be comparing yourself to is who you were yesterday — a little self awareness goes a long way.
Say Yes More Than You Say No
In my twenties, I said yes to just about any career related opportunity that came my way — “fake it ’til you make it” right? This attitude also helped me to push through any discomfort associated with the fear of the unknown, and certainly helped to distinguish parts of the industry that I loved (and didn’t love). These days, I say “no” a lot because I can — but I worked my butt off to have this privilege. Having a wide range of experiences under my belt ultimately gave me choices.
If You Get The Chance To Work Within A Small Business — Take It!
When compared to government or large scale brands, working in (and within) a small business is a wonderful way to learn the ins and out of how the whole operation works. Unlike bigger companies, you will usually get hands-on experience from all departments and sectors — think finance, human resources, operations, marketing, and even IT, which can prove to be invaluable if you one day want to set your own brand up. While at university, I worked in a small IT business, and most of the things I learned there help me with the day to day management of my own agency.
Get On LinkedIn And Connect
Sure, Richard Branson is wonderful, but he may not “speak” to you when it comes to career inspo. If you want career advice for women — go and connect with people who inspire you, and people you can relate to. It’s not about wanting something from them — they don’t have to give you anything for you to learn from them. Whenever I come across someone I resonate with (podcasts, authors, celebrities, business owners), I simply send a connection request with a short message explaining that what they said or did honestly inspired me. Oddly enough, my conversion rate sits at around 95% — I was honest, and I was authentic — and even as a professional, that counts for something.
Have A Personal Development Fund (PDF)
Every year, set aside a percentage of your income to personal development — and I don’t mean a four year university degree (although if that’s what you want to do, great). It might be getting yourself to a Tony Robbins seminar, taking a short course or doing Landmark Forum, or even getting yourself an iPad or piece of software to practice new and developing skills. Whatever it is, investing in yourself and your own growth is never a backwards step.
Use your twenties as a time to learn, stumble and ultimately grow. There’s no one clear path to success for everyone, so feel free to write your own rules when it comes to building a life and career that you truly love.