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10 Career Milestones To Reach In Your 20s

Who doesn’t love to read a list of goals or milestones they should be working towards? While every career and life is different and makes progress in different ways, it’s still fun to have milestones or goals you are trying to achieve.

This is why we’ve put together a list of career milestones to work towards while you’re in your 20s. So that you know what many of your peers are working to achieve, and what you can do to improve your life and career by achieving as well.

Whether you’re starting a new job, just got a promotion, have just been let go, or are at any other place in your career, there is always something to work towards.

Dive into our list of milestones to figure out where to go next.

Career Milestones To Reach In Your 20s

1. Finding a career you love.

The first thing you should be working towards is finding a career that you actually love doing. No more of this working just to make some money and pass the time.

Instead, now is the time to find what you’re passionate about and make money with it. Whether you’re a maker, a writer, a marketer, an accountant, a manager, a lawyer, a doctor, or another position altogether, find a career that you love and stick with it until you stop loving it.

An on the same page, find a company you love as well.

Sure, you need to pay the bills and maybe the company you currently work with isn’t the right fit, but keep your options open.

A huge milestone during your twenties is finding a company you can stick with for the long haul. You don’t need to find it at 23 or even 28, but hop around until you find a company that you match with. It might not be a place you want to stay forever, but putting in years of service at company shows other employers you’re reliable, dependable, and committed.

2. Start at the bottom.

You don’t have to stay there long, but starting off in an entry level position will help you build a strong foundation. While it doesn’t seem like a milestone in the conventional sense, starting out as a beginner teaches you critical professional skills.

You’ll learn what grunt work is, how to be a team player, how an organizational structure operates, and what it means to earn your way up. Check off this box as early as you can in your career to advance quickly.

3. Negotiate a raise.

One key milestone to reach is to talk to your boss and negotiate yourself a raise. If you’ve been in your position for awhile, have recently taken on more work or projects, or have completed work that you know has brought your company extra revenue, you deserve a raise.

You can ask during your annual review or request a call or meeting with your boss to discuss your raise and talk about how much you want.

In an ideal world, your boss will immediately accept, and you’ll get exactly what you want. But that’s not always the case, so you need to know how to defend your work and your reasons for asking.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Making More Money

4. Start saving for retirement.

You’re better off in the long run to start a retirement fund now. The sooner you start saving, the more time you’ll have to contribute to it, which means it will be worth more later in life.

Even better – if you find a company you plan on sticking with for a while, they might even match a portion (if not all) of your contribution. Check with the Human Resources department to see what their retirement match policy is. It could benefit you in a BIG way!

Related: What You Need To Know About Saving For Retirement in Your 20s

5. Find a mentor.

Looking to learn more about your field or industry, or find assistance in moving up in your career? Or perhaps you’re looking to start a business and need help with some of the newer parts of your new business owner job.

This is why it’s a great idea to find a mentor, or someone that you can talk to professionally. Mentors help you to grow professionally, and finding that person (or people) who help guide you is the perfect way to progress.

6. Network.

Find local networking events in your industry. If you aren’t sure where to look, first check out Meetup or local Facebook groups.

Not only is this a great way to find friends who work in similar careers as you, it’s a great way to find a potential mentor as well.

Even though networking can seem tough, and it’s hard to put yourself out there, it’s important to find people that you can discuss work with, work together on side projects, and help each other advance even further in your respective careers.

It also helps if you send a thank you card or a simple note in the mail after you’ve met someone to solidify the relationship.

Related: How To Write a Follow-Up Email or Handwritten Note After a Networking Event (+ FREE templates!)

7. Create a side hustle or passion project.

Speaking of side projects, that’s another milestone on this list. Even though you might love your career, doing something just for you, that’s not on your regular everyday work to do list.

Your side hustle or passion project doesn’t have to be something that makes you money, although that would definitely be more ideal. Who doesn’t enjoy an extra paycheck on the side?

Find something that you simply enjoy doing, whether it’s crocheting baby blankets, freelance writing, designing logos, or another hobby turned side gig.

Related: 5 Side Hustles That Let You Explore Your Creative Side

8. Develop a personal brand.

Personal branding is important. Have your own brand website or online presence to show off your work, your resume, and even your side gig if it’s related.

Find your own brand colors and fonts, create a personal website, share industry-related content on social media, and create a professional social media presence for yourself.

You don’t have to be involved in social media all of the time if you don’t want to, but just having that presence and developing a brand for yourself is a good milestone to hit.

Related: How To Strengthen Your Personal Brand in 2020

9. Document professional achievements.

Not only can this help you feel better about your professional achievements and give you bragging rights, it can help in your performance reviews and when you’re negotiating for a raise.

If you regularly keep notes of the biggest things you accomplish in your career, it will make your life so much easier when preparing for a chat with your boss, updating your resume, or getting ready for an interview for a new position.

Plus, going through and re-reading some of your biggest achievements and accomplishments can just make you feel really freaking awesome, too. And we all need a little bit of that.

Related: How To Make An Accomplishment List

10. Be promoted at least once.

It’s not always totally in your control, but work your hardest to get a promotion during your twenty-something years. Adding a promotion to your resume is going to bolster it and give you more competitive work experience. Use a resume template to boost your chances of visibility and move forward in your career.

Meet with your supervisor regularly to see if you’re on track to grow. It’s not just about earning a bigger paycheck – it’s also about having a fancier title next to your name. Whether it’s “senior” or “manager,” you’ll want it added to beef up your resume.

Related: 5 Ways To Set Yourself Up For a Promotion

How many of these milestones have you hit? What do you think are some of the most important career milestones to hit in your 20s? Let us know in the comments!

Thank you to Chloe West and Rachael Tulipano for collaborating on this article.

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About the Author

Chloe West

Chloe graduated from College of Charleston with a BA in English. She is currently a Content Marketing Manager at Visme and freelance writer. She loves brunch, stand up comedy, and card games. She works from home and plans to do so for the rest of her life.