Career Goals for your 20s: Part 2

Personal development never really stops – but there are certain things you should really have achieved by a certain age, otherwise you’ll come up against barriers later in your life. In this series, we’re going to be exploring a few of the checkboxes you should be ticking in each decade of your professional life, and we’ll look at what you need to do in order to cross them off your to-do list.

In your 20s, your focus really ought to be on maximising your potential later in life, because these are the defining years – when you’ll lay the foundations of your personal and professional life.

These are the years in which you’ll discover your unique method of communicating with others. You’ll find out what your adult identity looks like – making a few mistakes along the way (don’t worry, everybody does) – and eventually you’ll identify which aspects of life hold real meaning for you. It’s quite a lot – but it’s easier to navigate if you’ve got a decent map. Here’s one you can borrow.

Develop healthy habits

Discovering a productivity system that works for you is the key to a well-organised career – and there’s nothing an employer likes more than an employee who knows what they’re doing. Organisational skills are hugely valuable in practically every industry, so the sooner you start working on them, the better. Before your pile of important paperwork becomes a mountain, invest in a filing cabinet – and it doesn’t have to be a physical one. Investigate reminder apps and online productivity tools. But there’s a lot out there, so if you’re finding the wealth of options a bit overwhelming, you can’t go wrong with a packet of post-its and a biro.

Working out seems like an odd thing to include in a list of career goals, but it’s an incredibly sensible habit to build in your 20s – many studies have shown the bias in hiring decisions when it comes to a candidate’s fitness level. Some people naturally enjoy exercise, and make room for workouts in their schedule – but others find it painful, dull, or an insufferable torture. Our advice is to try as many types of physical activity as you can. Chances are, you’ll find one you do like – and the sooner you start building that habit, the easier it’ll be to maintain it in your 40s, 50s and beyond.

It’s not just your physical health that needs a bit more attention, though. How’s your financial health? If you haven’t started saving for retirement already, now is absolutely the time to start. Again, it’s about building the healthy habit of saving a little money every month. 20 is a long way from retirement, but the earlier you start a rainy day fund, the bigger it’ll be by the time you start depending on it. Compound interest is the name of the game, and the sooner you start saving, the greater gains you’ll see from exponential growth.

For more advice on how to maximise your potential in the workplace, find out how Finito: The Employability Experts can help you take your career to the next level.