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Tips for your career before 35

Lena Görmann
Lena Görmann

There are some skills that will always be good to have in your portfolio, no matter at what stage of your professional life you are. Best of all, if you attain these skills early on, so you can utilize them throughout your professional development.

1. Perfect your "elevator pitch" - be ready to present yourself even when just given a short time frame, so you can impress by being concise and confident

2. Know your superpowers - this way you can position yourself precisely and appear confident

3. Know your weaknesses - choose to either delegate or work on them accordingly

4. Learn to delegate - relying on experts and other peoples' strengths can be an asset for you

5. Learn to prioritize - both tasks as well as your own aspirations

6. Do what makes you proud - have at least one thing that fills you with pride, it will show you and your colleagues what you value in yourself

7. Learn from mistakes - it's a cliché for a reason

8. Reach your limits - get out of your comfort zone and test yourself, you may be surprised by what you are capable of

9. Do something that scares you - you might discover that for example speaking in public is not as scary as you thought it would be

10. Learn to accept criticism - take criticism seriously, but not personally, it will be important no matter which industry or job you are in

11. Learn to express criticism - giving constructive feedback will make you a valued part of the team

12. Learn to say no - back it up with rational reasons and it will be accepted

13. Build a network - this will be helpful throughout your career, so it is best if you start early

14. Find a mentor - have someone you trust to advise you on professional issues, whether they are a professional consultant or expert in the field, their insights can be valuable

15. Maintain your online presence - they will oftentimes be the first impression people have of you

16. Polish your Xing or LinkedIn profile - recruiters and HR will oftentimes fact-check your information, keep it consistent and up to date

17. Document your best performance - keep it as a ready-to-go portfolio of your greatest hits, this way you will always be prepared to impress

18. Learn to sell (yourself or something else) - no matter what job you're in you will ultimately need to "sell" something, like your ideas or opinions, yourself or a product or service

19. Learn to negotiate - it is key in most businesses, be it negotiating with clients, the budget or about your salary. You can start practicing in your personal life and slowly transfer it to your job once you feel comfortable

20. Learn leadership from below - even if no leader has been determined in a lead, there will also be a de-facto one, so take notes and try to emulate their actions of communication, confidence and initiative

21. Practice writing great e-mails - it will be greatly valued by colleagues and external partners alike

22. Master the handshake - the CEO of a Fortune 500 company reported that when two candidates with similar qualifications are chosen, he always gives the position to the one with the better handshake

23. Choose a type of to-do list - figure out your methods whether it is pen and paper or synchronized across devices, find what works for you to get stuff done

24. Know your energy levels and use them wisely - when are you at your mental peak, and at what times do you feel drained? Perfect the use of your energy

25. Get enough sleep - whether you need seven or nine hours, be aware of your individual needs

26. Learn to deal with stress - coping mechanisms are a must-have in both personal and professional lives, so make sure you have one ready to use

27. Apologize selectively - it is a common perception that by apologizing that you take some of the blame, which is why we recommend empathizing and being friendly, but only apologizing for true errors rather than politeness

28. Be confident in your abilities - you deserve it

29. Have a plan B - while no one wants to think about being laid off, having a safety net or plan can give you a lot of peace of mind

30. Have a side project - give it a try, who knows what it will lead to

31. Invest in your retirement - the earlier you start the more you get out of it later

32. Invest in yourself - we live in fast-paced environments and have some skills to adapt to new settings will be invaluable

33. Invest in the world - whether it's donating your skills to a charity or mentoring a young employee, there are few better feelings than giving back

34. Know what you do not want - pinpointing what exactly it is you want may be difficult, especially earlier on in your career, so try the opposite approach instead

35. Follow your interests - whether professionally or as a hobby, having something that gives you joy is always important

You can reach our international team in Hamburg by phone at +49 40 53 799 1400 or by mail at

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