Having a degree from a prestigious school doesn’t cut it in the professional world anymore. But taking charge of your professional brand does. So you must look for your definition of success and see where you want to be in life.
Organizations only hire the best of the best. They’re looking for a breed of young professionals who already have the habits of success. So developing work disciplines at a young age will help you thrive in the workplace.
Some young professionals become complacent with their abilities. When they’re overconfident, they become unconcerned about their surroundings. As a result, they don’t try to improve themselves anymore.
Success is a continuous process of self-improvement. So if you’re a young professional looking for a seat amongst veterans, here are 12 professional habits you can apply in your daily life.
12 Habits that will make young professionals successful
1. Commit to lifelong learning
A common mistake most young professionals make is they stop learning after they step into the corporate world. They become so comfortable with their capabilities that they neglect to see that certain parts of themselves require growth. Successful folks, however, are curious in nature. The world dynamic constantly changes, and to become successful, you must adapt to these changes.
With technology these days, knowledge is within your grasp. You no longer need to attend traditional schooling to get the education that you desire. Instead, you can develop yourself through online courses, educational newsletters, audiobooks, and much more. So find something on the internet that can be worthwhile for your future.
2. Develop a productive daily routine
One thing that sets professionals apart from amateurs is their productive routine. Successful people don’t procrastinate. They always see to it that they submit work on time without excuses.
Developing an effective schedule may take time, but it isn’t impossible. To boost your productivity, take note of these critical tips below:
- Start your day with affirmations to reprogram your mind to help you become successful.
- List down three major tasks you need to accomplish daily so you won’t feel overwhelmed with things you need to do.
- Do away with things that distract you. But if you’re prone to distractions, try the Pomodoro technique. The Pomodoro technique is a strategy that can help you focus on any task.
3. Be aware of personal finances
One root cause of debt is poor budgeting. People who are unaware of their financial status tend to spend more than they have. So as a young professional, monitoring your finances should be on your priority list of things to do weekly.
You may use the 50/20/30 budget rule to help you reach your financial goals. The rule states that you set aside 50% of your income after-tax on daily needs, 20% on savings and debt repayment, and 30 for your wants.
If the 50/20/30 rule doesn’t apply to you, there’s also the envelope budget technique. Here you categorize where your monthly budget goes after tax. Then, put a specific amount of money into envelopes or spreadsheets according to its category.
Unlike the 50/20/30 rule, you can set how much money you want into these envelopes. However, you should first determine the dollar amount you typically spend on each category per month. For example, if you spend $120 a week on groceries, the envelope should have at least $480-$500 in it.
Understandably saving can be tricky, especially when there are unexpected expenses. That is why self-evaluation is important to help you plan your finances.
4. Network yourself
While not everyone is comfortable with networking, it can help you connect and build relationships with people in many industries. These professionals can inspire you to improve your work even through tough times.
Never underestimate networking when building your career. It differentiates you from other candidates because recruiters will ask others if they know anything about you. So start young and finish strong.
One of the things you can do to start networking while you’re young is know your elevator pitch.
Elevator pitch is introducing yourself in a short time. Since people are always on the go at networking events, you need to be efficient with what you have to say. So always explain things about yourself in a simplified manner. Offer something valuable that can make you stand out from the rest of the crowd.
And don’t forget to get the person you talk to their contact information. Write anything that they say that strikes you the most, so when they try to reach out, or you try to reach out to them, you can mention these statements.
5. Embody thought leadership
Young professionals who want to climb up the corporate ladder need to have intellectual and leadership mastery. Not only in terms of social and emotional skills but also regarding their capacity to share their ideas about their industry in an insightful way.
Here’s what you can do to become a thought leader during the start of your career:
- Create content to share your thoughts in the form of blogs, short videos, or audio recordings.
- Be consistent, and don’t be afraid to get into details as you want to maintain a steady flow of content. The nitty gritty details about your ideas can answer questions no one dares to.
- Use simple words to develop a clear point of view to make it easy for people to follow along with your observations while gaining trust among your community.
6. Know your value
A great leader knows their value but never brags about it. Instead, they humbly know their worth while helping others in their team succeed. Knowing what you can bring to the table to contribute to overall success makes you an asset to the company.
Thus, continue working on your professional development in areas that you specialize in. Think of it as a personal investment for your future self. So know your worth and don’t work for less than what you can provide the company.
And for obvious reasons, don’t oversell yourself because people will take your word for it. If you have weaknesses in certain areas in your career, don’t hesitate to tell the company about them. But follow through and say that you’re taking steps to improve your flaws.
7. Be an early bird
Going to work early shows that you’re a professional. It’s a manifestation of your productivity.
While being on time won’t hurt your career, it doesn’t give you enough leeway to take a breath right after you get to your office. In contrast, being early gives you time to figure out which company task to do next. Besides avoiding traffic that can cause stress, it also shows your manager that you’re a go-getter.
There are some things you need to do to get to work early.
- First, strategize your commute. Experiment with the best times to leave your house to arrive at work at your desired time.
- Second, after your trial run, pick which schedule suits your needs. It’s also ideal to map out which routes to take or which public transportation to use.
- Lastly, keep your routine consistent to have a structured day. This will help you when your day feels unpredictable and uncertain.
8. Communicate directly
Many young professionals don’t observe proper effective communication because they lack confidence. However, talking about your concerns about your work helps the company improve some aspects of its culture and organization processes. At the same time, it can benefit you as your manager can assist you with things you’re struggling with. So, no more beating around the bush.
To improve your communication skills, listen more than you speak. Hearing what others have to say provides insight so you can give a clear answer.
Ask questions when necessary. If you think you don’t understand some instructions during a meeting, clarify your point of view. Doing so will help you address some issues on your end so you won’t make any further mistakes.
Use simple words instead of jargon, especially when talking to someone who doesn’t understand technical terms related to your industry. While complicated words may make you sound professional, it’s not always necessary.
9. Know when to take a break
Professionals know when to work and when to take a break. However, taking a break may sound counterintuitive for someone new in the corporate world. So how can resting make you more productive?
In this fast-paced world, people are always busy trying to meet deadlines, going to meetings, etc. But often times they forget to put their feet up and rest. As a result of pushing themselves to the brink of exhaustion, they end up unhappy. Thus, more and more employees suffer from burnout.
Studies show that rest improves productivity. It is necessary to have a good work-life balance. So spend your days off wisely. You may focus on your health and fitness or catch up on your favorite book. Just do something else other than work.
10. Take ownership
Regardless if you’re new to the work environment or a professional, taking ownership of your responsibilities and mistakes contributes to your success. When you hold yourself accountable for your work, you take a proactive approach to your duties. Meaning you take the initiative in developing ideas instead of waiting for your manager to give you a solution.
If you’re confident about your problem-solving skills, then fix what you can. But always communicate transparently to your boss. For example, show them data or any information to justify your actions. And when you do make some errors, own up to them because it shows that you’re mature.
11. Strive for work-life balance
Since young professionals are new to their work routine, they struggle with work-life balance. As a result, some bring personal problems to work while others do the opposite.
The lack of balance at work and home stems from the excessive workload and poor working environment. So if you don’t know how to manage your stress efficiently, it can affect your relationships in the office and with your family.
Thus, you must learn to say “no” when you have a lot on your plate. Saying “no” can be difficult, particularly if you want to succeed. However, it’s essential to set some boundaries. Think about it. If you say “yes” to everything your boss says, you won’t have time to submit quality work. Why? Because you’re always on your toes trying to meet deadlines. Instead, explain that you want to deliver valuable results to the organization and that accepting more tasks may compromise company standards.
12. Leverage mentorship
Mentors can teach aspiring professionals about themselves. They give advice about your career that can help you become successful. Although it’s okay not to have one, seeking out mentorship can provide you with support, opportunities, and connections.
You must know what you want before you find a mentor. Consider looking into your professional circle. Perhaps your former teachers, co-workers, or someone you met while networking. These people should have a good idea about your role and industry so they can offer lessons down to the tee.
Mentorship requires you to speak up about your struggles, so let your guard down and open up to them. Not only will it give you a sigh of relief, but it also helps you identify parts of yourself that need growth.
Change your life with these habits for young professionals
Finding your way through the job market is tough after graduation. Many students wrestle with themselves just to fit into the world of professionals. Some lose their way into the abyss of worldly distractions, while others seem to know what they’re doing.
These successful young professionals have daily habits that help them develop the necessary skills for work. With drive, focus and perseverance, you can have this too. So, don’t undervalue your everyday practices. Even if they make little difference now, when you repeat them, they can reshape your life entirely.