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Professional skills you should learn in your 20s

Professional skills you should learn in your 20s

When you’re in your 20s and  fresh out of university, it can be a daunting task to tackle the professional world. There are some skills you should master and some things you should learn simply not to do. It can be hard to know which is which, and struggle through the quagmire of business etiquette. Follow this list of professional skills you should learn in your 20s to succeed in your professional endeavours.

How to make a decision

In both your professional and personal life, decisions need to be made. You need to learn not to become easily stressed about the outcomes of the choices you have made. If you find you can’t make a decision at work, use the ‘gun test’. Imagine someone is holding a gun to your head, and you must make a decision. You’ll find that you can make a clear decision, and it will relieve some of the pressure from the choices.

How to negotiate

In your professional life you may need to negotiate at some stage, whether you’re going to muster up the courage to ask for a pay-rise, or you have an employee asking you for a pay-rise. Negotiating is key in keeping both parties happy. A top tip for negotiating is to turn the tables around. You want the person you’re up against to say ‘no’ when ultimately you need them to say ‘yes’.  If they refuse your terms, ask them if they want you to fail. Quite quickly they’ll say no and you can push for your negotiations.

How to deal with rejection

If a negotiation above doesn’t go to plan, learn to accept rejection. Don’t take it personally, and learn from the experience. Teach yourself to toughen up, and be emotionally and mentally prepared for rejection the next time you’re faced with it.

How to hold an interesting conversation

In today’s social savvy world, it can be hard to keep up an interesting conversation without reverting back to checking emails. Start a conversation by asking open ended questions, pick topics that can flow well, and enjoy the lost art of conversation. Co-workers, clients, and business partners will appreciate the effort and it makes for a great first impression.

How to interview well 

When you’re in your 20’s and starting your professional career, you may think you’re invincible on paper but turn into a mumbling mess of words and nerves in the interview. Be prepared for the interview, do your research, and remember that your interview starts the minute you walk into the office.

How to accept defeat 

If you didn’t get the job or promotion, accept it and move on. It’s always a good idea to send a follow up email thanking the interviewer for their time, and asking politely if they have any pointers on how you can improve for next time. It’s not a good idea to badger the interviewer demanding to know why you were passed over.

How to network 

Connections are everything. When you’re trying to make new connections, forget your personal agenda. It will strain the relationship being created and both parties tend to loose interest. Try and make genuine connections with people by being open and honest and forge connections that will see you through your professional career and perhaps into your personal friend group.


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