5 Career Development Checkpoints to Hit Before You Turn 25
Have you ticked off these benchmarks on your career journey?
If you’re a recent graduate or you’re just about to graduate, you’re probably feeling a real mixture of emotions. You’re excited to get going with your career. You’re gazing back at your university years with nostalgic goggles. You’re nervous you won’t get the career of your dreams and you’re concerned about how smoothly the onboarding process will go once you finally get a job.
All of these thoughts and feelings are perfectly natural and we’ve all been there before. Don’t let them paralyze you into indecision. Take all that nervous energy and let it motivate your career development. Set your sights on the future and enjoy every moment. You’re about to embark on an exciting, unpredictable ride and there’s no telling where your career path will take you in 20 years’ time!
Everyone is different and their careers will progress at different paces, but some goals should remain the same for almost everyone. Below, we have laid out the five essential career development checkpoints you should be looking to hit by the age of 25.
1. Splash out on workplace attire
What you wear says a lot, and what you wear on your first day at your job can make a lasting impression. Dress in a way that feels comfortable to you and that fits the dress code of the organization. When in doubt, don’t take risks, and dress more formally, even if you’re working in a creative environment. This will show you take the role seriously. Graduates the world over should know that investing in a suitable workplace wardrobe is a wise investment, and it will pay itself off in no time.
It has been shown that appearance still matters greatly when it comes to promotion prospects. If you look too shabby, or if you have visible piercings or tattoos, you are less likely to advance. Research also indicates that your mental alertness and productivity levels are also affected by what you wear. When in doubt, remember the old mantra: dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
2. Land your first graduate job
You might well have had a summer job before, but there is something different about landing your first graduate job. It feels more serious, more permanent and it holds more potential. Finally, you’re free of education and you are able to get your head down, work hard, and advance up the ranks.
There might be a lot of competition, but graduates with grit will be successful in the end. Keep positive, track your graduate job applications diligently, and research thoroughly before an interview. Before long, you’ll have a graduate job to be proud of.
3. Make a career plan
If your career development is important to you, make time to sit down and seriously consider your career plan. This forces you to pay attention to the details; What are your core strengths and deeply held values? What you want to achieve, by when, and how you can go about succeeding? Without a plan, you are far less likely to achieve your goals. In fact, it has been shown that actively writing down your goals makes it much more likely that they will materialize. Be sure to talk to your manager, and if you need some help in this area, seek assistance in the form of graduate career coaching.
Remember, though: regardless of how well planned and organized you are, things are always subject to change. Just because you are passionate about a particular career path now, this doesn’t mean you won’t consider a career transition in the future. Life is an adventure, and you should allow yourself to enjoy the journey.
4. Negotiate a fair pay rise
If you’ve been working away, hitting all your targets, and providing value to your organization for some time, you are probably deserving of a pay rise. This can be an awkward topic to broach, particularly if you are inexperienced in this area, but don’t be afraid to raise the idea with your manager after a year in the job. You know your value, as does the manager; he or she will not reprimand you for bringing up the subject of pay in an adult, professional way.
Of course, salary isn’t everything, but equally, as you get older you will need increased financial security. Regardless of how much you love your company, if they won’t entertain the idea of a raise after a year of strong performance in a role, you should consider other employers. This isn’t a bad thing; job hopping is the new norm, and can provide a great number of benefits.
5. Lead a meeting
This isn’t something that will come naturally to everyone. You might feel comfortable in your own role and confident of your work, but leading a meeting or an important presentation is entirely new ground. Don’t allow the potential awkwardness of public speaking put you off. This benchmark will allow you to begin developing a large number of skills, including communication, time management, and leadership presence. Broader corporate visibility early in a career accelerates development and growth opportunities exponentially, so make sure not to miss out on a good opportunity.
For the best graduate career coaching available and for help on everything from onboarding to career development, get in touch with GRIT Point now. We’ll help you on your way to greatness.