New to your chosen career or whether you’ve already been at it for a couple of years, it is never too early to work on career characteristics that will ultimately shape your future. The sooner you start the sooner you will get better at perfecting these skills and habits. Practice makes perfect after all. Mastering these skills and characteristics will set you in good stead in your future career.

Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

No one ever achieved anything great by being comfortable. If you want to succeed then you will have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. The early stages of your career is the perfect time to take risks. You have the time to make mistakes and to rebound. You should aim to step out of your comfort zone every day or at least on a weekly basis. You can do this by setting yourself goals. This could be anything from speaking up in a meeting you wouldn’t normally speak up in or approaching your boss with  a new idea.

Make Authentic Connections

We live in a time where our social and work status is defined by the number of followers we have on our social media accounts. While social media is an important aspect of our lives, and it is here to stay, it is vital to create real authentic human -to- human connections. It is important to build long term connections when networking. Keep in contact with your connections over lunch or send them articles that may be of use to them. You never know in the future where they might be able to help you with your career or you with theirs.

Source: Hot Dress Hot Mess

Always Be In Learning Mode

You are never too old to learn, and thus you should be in constant learning mode. Find someone who you strive to emulate. A person in your career field or someone at work whose work ethic and work you admire. Observe what they do and establish how they achieve this. Don’t be shy to ask for help and advice, for it will better your knowledge and help you to achieve your goals. The more you know the better equipped you will be for your future. It is also vital that you do not become complacent and that you are constantly striving to improve yourself.

Source: The Skinny Confidential

Make The Most Of Your Sundays

Weekends are a great time to unwind, relax and spend time with friends and family. Sunday is still seen as 100% weekend time, and I get that, but by using 1-2 hours of your Sunday to organise your life will help you banish those Monday blues and gear up for a productive and successful week. Mondays get a bad rap as there’s always so much that needs to be achieved at the beginning of the week. Allow yourself to ease into the week by seeing part of Sunday as the start of your week. Meal prep, schedule workouts and view your weekly calendar so that you know what is scheduled for your week.

Once you have accomplished these tasks and have gotten into a routine, you can start by spending some extra time on career development goals. This could be anything from reading articles you haven’t yet managed to read to taking online free classes to improve your skills. As mentioned above, you should never stop learning.

Develop A Daily Routine

Research has shown that the most successful people follow a daily routine. You know yourself best and know your weaknesses, as well as when you have the most energy and are the most productive. Create a daily  routine that fits into your lifestyle so that you are able to reach your goals. Not only will having a daily routine make your life more organised, but you will also feel better and accomplish more in your day.

 Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate

In your 20’s you are still finding your feet and the very thought of having to negotiate can be rather overwhelming. Especially if your are more timid. But luckily you have some time to master this skill and alas, you should never shy away from negotiating.  The first thought that springs to mind when negotiation is mentioned is that of salary negotiation. Sure you will have to do your fair share of salary negotiations, but you will constantly need to negotiate in other spheres of your career as well. You will need to negotiate project terms, timelines and who is assigned what work. So it’s time to get comfortable with negotiating because its here to stay and will form part of your everyday life.

Manage Your Social Media

Social media is an integral part of our lives. We’re all rather obsessed with it actually and we spend hours pouring over our own and  new feed on Instagram . That being said, if not well maintained it could be detrimental to your personal brand. You should be aware of your privacy settings and always be considerate of what you are posting. In a couple of months or even years would you be happy with what you are posting? Ask yourself that each time before posting.

At the very least you should have a LinkedIn page as it is relevant in most industries. If you wanted to you could build your own personal brand by having your own personal site. This is a great way to display your achievements and competencies. Social media is a wonderful tool that can be amazing if used correctly.

Here’s how you can easily start your own site.

Source: Unsplash/ Clarisse Meyer

Update Your Resume

Most people forget to update their resumé on a regular basis. The problem with this is that when it comes time to update it as you need to use it, you may omit important details as you have forgotten. In the early stages of your career you may be unsure of the exact path you will take as there are endless options. Therefore it is essential that you keep your resume updated. You could even create more than one resume to highlight different skills and achievements that are more in line with the career path or job you may want to work in.

Be True To Yourself

This is very important in shaping yourself as an individual in the workplace. Yes you may be able to put on a good façade, but generally people will see through that. It is important to establish what career path you would like to follow. If your heart is not in it then you will most likely fail as you will not be 100 % invested. Your 20’s can be a difficult time as you are now an adult, but still figuring out what you want in life, who you are and where you want to go and what you want to achieve.

Dress To Impress

In order to get your dream job or be promoted, you need to look the part. You are constantly making first impressions in your 20’s so it is vital that that impression is a good one. Remember to always dress appropriately even if it is just drinks with your co-workers. It is still work related after all. Find a style that both suits you and makes you feel confident. Looking good will make you feel better and more confident in the workplace.

Source: Cupcakes And Cashmere

Don’t Compete With Others

Your sole focus should be to only compete with yourself, but this is often easier said than done. At the start of our career paths we are often left comparing ourselves, our income and progress to friends, family and co-workers. But in terms of career development, the best thing you can do for yourself is to focus on your progress and strive to be better each day, only competing against yourself.