Five Biggest Career Mistakes in Your Twenties

Your twenties is an interesting time in your career. It is likely that you will have your first “real” job with benefits at a good company when you are in your twenties. You may have a few not so great jobs, and work for free or a very low salary to get your foot in the door or to gain job experience. However, the choices you make in your twenties will affect how your career pans out over the rest of your life. It can affect the total amount that you earn since your next salary is often based loosely off your current salary. It is important to take control of your career even if you are still trying to figure out exactly what you want to do.

Working Without Clear Goals in Mind

Avoid these five career mistakes when you are in your twenties. Cultura RM/Leonora Saunders/Collection Mix: Subjects/Getty Images

It is essential to create career goals to reach your dream job. If you want to work up to management or you want to open your own business, you will need a solid plan that outlines the steps that you need to take to reach those goals. The more detailed your plan, the easier it will be to achieve your goals. You may decide you need to go back to school to get a graduate degree. Take advantage of any training you can receive at your current job to help you reach your ultimate career goal. 

Failure to Keep Up with the Changing Job Market

Careers no longer stay the same, and job expectations change as fast as technology does. Even if you graduate with cutting edge skills you can fall behind if you do not work on staying current with programming or other skills. It is important that you take the time in your twenties to find conferences to attend, and professional organizations that you can join. These things will show future employers that you are serious about continuing to learn and grow throughout your entire career.

Staying Underemployed

Depending on the current economic conditions, you may not have been able to find your dream job right out of college. Some college graduates settle for a job that does not pay as well to gain experience in a specific field. It is okay to take a job like this to get your foot in the door at a great company or to gain the experience you need, but you do not want to stay in this position for very long. After about a year, you should begin looking for a job that better fits your needs and long-term job goals. If you hear about your dream job before the year is up go ahead and apply for it. You should not let an opportunity pass you up. It can be difficult to survive while you are underemployed

Staying in a Job with No Future

Your first job may have decent pay and good benefits, but you may find that it does not offer you the chance for upward mobility or an opportunity to grow your career. You may also find that conflict with management or other coworkers are holding you back for moving forward and landing your dream job. It can be frustrating to stay in a job where you do not see any chance to reach your ultimate career goals. It is important to move on when you are in a job that will not let you move forward.

Failing to Build an Identity

 Although, you may still be finding yourself when you are in your twenties and trying to figure out the field that you want to work in, you can still build a positive working identity that will help you build a solid career in your twenties. From each job, you should be able to pull out skills that will help you prepare for your next job. As you move onto your next job, take the time to see how that experience helped you create the professional image you are trying to create.