Four career moves to make in your 30s
More responsibilities mean more chances for advancement.
Your career is different in your 30s. You’re managing a team, leading projects, finding your specialty, and taking on projects that directly affect the company’s bottom line. You may also have a family and more responsibilities at home so now you have to think twice before working late or heading to happy hour with co-workers as soon as the clock strikes five. Focus on these things to do in your 30s that will set you up for continued career success.
Discover what you love
Don’t stay in your lane. J. Kelly Hoey, a New York City-based career expert and author of Build Your Dream Network recommends taking on new projects that let you expand your skills. Volunteer for assignments at work and look for the “white space” and come to your boss with ideas for how you can create solutions.
“Only when you are exposed to different opportunities, do you fully tap into your talents, and discover not only what you are good at but what you enjoy doing as well,” says Hoey. “Earlier in your career it is so much easier to aggressively pursue your career curiosity and seek a range of work experiences, so don't waste the chance.”
Expand your network
Find people who have your back. Of course, it’s valuable to have strong relationships with people in your office like your boss, co-workers, and a mentor and sponsor, but don’t forget to extend your network outside of your office. Stay in touch with professors, old co-workers and bosses, and meet new people at industry events and networking groups.
“While you’re pursuing a variety of work experiences, ensure you are exposing your talents, ideas, and ambition to a diverse network,” says Hoey. “In other words, don't just work with the same people all the time!”
If you build genuine relationships that don’t feel quid pro quo, they can help you be more successful at work and be key to landing your next big job. When you are applying to jobs, it’s advantageous to know someone at the company who can make sure your resume doesn’t get lost in the shuffle and will vouch for you.
Define your personal brand
Working on your personal brand is key among things to do in your 30s. Successful companies all have a point of differentiation that makes them stand out from the competition. They are also recognizable and certain words, phrases, and even color pallets come to mind as soon as you think of the brand. Annette Harris, founder of the Washington D.C.-based personal brand coaching company Show Up, suggests identifying your own point of differentiation.
It is beneficial to have a specialty and a distinction at every level of your career, but especially as you get more senior and start leading projects and teams. “Like with a product, you first need to think about how you provide value for your target audience,” Harris says. “What sort of roles are you looking for either in your current job or more generally, and what personal attributes do you have that create value for that? These value-adds are usually strengths, skills or talents, personality traits, or your track record.”
Set goals and check-in
You could have a laissez-faire attitude about your career and go with the flow, but then you might look back and regret the direction you’ve taken or the things you didn’t accomplish. Instead, be active and regularly set goals and strategies for accomplishing them.
Michele Mavi, a career expert at the New York City-based talent solutions firm Atrium Staffing, suggests setting specific and quantifiable goals so you can measure your progress. Check in once a quarter, once a year, or even weekly to decide on new goals and cross completed ones off your list.
“As you set your goals, remember that they are not limited to achieving a certain salary or job title,” Mavi says. “By the time you are 30, you may have experienced different types of work environments. So, knowing what type of work-life balance you want and finding work with purpose is equally (if not more) important to consider.”
As you check off these things to do in your 30s, remember that it's never too late or too early to build on your professional development, whether you want to learn a new language or shoot for the corner office. Could you use some tips to move forward? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you'll get workplace insights, career advice, and job search tips sent directly to your inbox.