25 Things Every Young Professional Should Know By 25

A young woman sitting near a window turning her back and giving a wide smile
Brooke Cagle / Unsplash

The sooner you learn certain things as a young professional, the sooner you will be on your way to achieving overall professional and personal wellness. Start with these tips to get you on the right track by age 25.

1. Learn to adjust your expectations. Life won’t always work out as you imagined as a child. Learn to adapt. Change is the only constant. Life is wonderfully unexpected, personally and professionally.

2. Do not feel entitled in a new place of work because of your experiences in a different environment. When starting over, you must earn your new spot despite landing the job. That’s just the first part!

3. Always research the company, prepare your samples and bring copies of your resume to job interviews.

4. Pack your lunch for work. You will teach yourself to cook healthy meals in the process and avoid overspending at gas stations or restaurants. This also means you will learn to budget. Congratulations — you’re “adulting.”

5. Do not compare your success to others. Your friends may start out at a different salary after graduating college, whether one month out or three years, depending on their personality, skills, education and chosen field. Salaries are extremely conditional.

6. Treat everyone with respect, whether they’re an intern or seasoned veteran.

7. Eliminate the word “just” from your vocabulary. Don’t use it, in emails or your speech. It makes you seem less decisive and sure of yourself. Embrace your confidences and be sure of your expertise. Everyone is always learning, but at different levels.

8. Be kind to your journey. Value your learning experiences. Everyone starts somewhere. Be patient with the process of personal and professional development.

9. Learn to write a standout cover letter. A cover letter should not summarize your resume, but show your personality and character.

10. Be a self-directed employee. Your boss will not always be available to guide you through every day of your employment. Learn to create your own task list that will benefit the business’ objectives, long or short term. Your boss will appreciate your aptitude and you will self-teach management skills in the process.

11. Learn when you need to focus and when you need to wear more than one hat. In a world where we are constantly stimulated by the digital realm, you are still required to show your humanity and be an attentive employee. Practice digital detoxes often to encourage this within yourself.

12. Be unafraid in negotiating your salary. You know your worth better than anyone. Aim fairly. Do not under or over sell yourself. Talk yourself up to the true nature of your abilities and experience.

13. Learn to write a killer follow-up email. Job candidates stand out in the current market with great writing and people skills. Learning to write a great follow-up email after sending in your resume or having an initial interview will boost your chances.

14. Mind your social media presence. If you wouldn’t want an employer to see something you put on social media, you should rethink posting it at all. Being a public forum, you must keep in mind that you are not only representing yourself on your profiles, but your place of work, family, friends, etc.

15. Take time for you. Rest and relaxation are considerably important. Achieve a work-to-life balance that keeps you passionate and makes you feel secure in your personal and professional endeavors.

16. Learn from upper-level employees. You have so much to learn from those who have been a part of your field longer than you. Make an effort to engage them in conversation about their own careers.

17. Utilize free digital resources and know their ins and outs: Dropbox, Evernote and Google Drive are just the start.

18. Become proficient with Microsoft Office. No matter your industry or role, having basic technical skills will always put you ahead. They’re basically a requirement nowadays, anyway.

19. “It is not because life is difficult that we fear. It is because we fear life is difficult.” – proverb. Take this quote under deep consideration. Understand things that have already happened are things you cannot control, but only learn from. Value those lessons. The only thing you can do wrong during your young professional life is not do. Action is essential.

20. Make time for family. Enjoy the youthfulness of them in your 20s. Don’t wait until your 30s to schedule weekly coffee dates with your mom. Appreciate your parents, siblings, grandparents and extended family now.

21. Say no to what you hate. Do not feel like you have to do something because others expect or want it of you. Be true to your own nature, personally and professionally.

22. Understand legal documents on your own: car leases, apartment leases, tax returns, etc. Value the freedom of being completely independent during this time of your life. Remember, being independent does not mean being alone or lonely.

23. Be practical, but passionate. It’s okay to dream, but the reality of your 20s will also teach you that you have to pay the bills, and that becomes a priority. Find work that makes you achieving in both mindsets. Perception is invaluable when it comes to this. Learn to find your gratitude during difficult or stressful times. Happiness leads to good health.

24. Know there is no time stamp on achieving one certain thing or becoming a certain person. Everyone develops and grows at their own pace. Do not compare your journey to your colleagues, friends or family.

25. Stop worrying — everything will work out as it’s mean to. Believe in yourself, always. TC mark

Julia isn’t afraid to embrace new challenges.

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