Things have changed for twenty-something's in recent years. In the old days, girls went to college, got married, and shacked up with hubby. Now, ladies go to college, get “real” jobs and their own places, and then put a ring on it.
But these days, it’s a lot harder to get any of those steps just right, and most twenty-something's end up moving home with Mom and Dad for a period of time while they hunt down that dream job – or at least a job that will pay rent and let us leave the nest.
It can be frustrating to feel like all those basic Next Steps are so far out of reach, with the job market more difficult to navigate than ever and the costs of, well, everything climbing higher and higher. But there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re heading down the right path and setting yourself up for future success, even when you feel like you’re at a stand-still.
1. Keep up with your resume and professional profile. By now, you should have a polished resume and an account on LinkedIn. Reach out to college and professional contacts, ask for recommendations, and build your professional network to remain open to potential job connections. Compare your resume to others’ in your field and make sure yours stands out. Review it every so often and add any relevant skills. Have it accessible in your email account to send it out on a moment’s notice so you can…
2. Continue to network and build professional contacts. You never know what friend of a friend or family member may have a job opening for you. Make a positive impression on the people you meet and sell your skills to anyone who may have an “in” in the job market. Don’t be afraid to ask about job opportunities, either – speak up or get left out!
3. Develop healthy and mature habits. It may sound crazy, but this “fake it ‘til you make it” mentality will seep into all aspects of your life once you’ve got it down. If you’re still sleeping until noon, eating Cheetos and Ramen noodles for dinner, and basically acting like a teenager, how can you expect people to see you as an adult? Developing healthy and mature habits requires you to take responsibility in your life and will help you grow into a more responsible adult, and while it may just begin with your eating and sleeping habits or hobbies, it won’t be long before the behavior becomes your new routine and you’re living a more adult-like life.
4. Volunteer your time to charity. The simple explanation for this is Karma – the belief that what you put into the universe is what you will receive in return. Essentially, do good things and good things will come to you. And while that is important on its own, also consider that while you may feel like things suck right now while you’re living at home and waiting for the phone to ring, there are people out there who are way less fortunate than you are. It’s important to stay grounded, and donating your time, money, or food and clothing will help you be grateful for the blessings you do have.
5. Pay attention to your outlook on life. Have you heard the expression “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”? It’s a good one. During this time of transition and, trust me, a whole lot of waiting and wondering, it’s important to remain positive and keep an optimistic view on life. When you let yourself get bogged down, you can’t see clearly and can be blind to some great opportunities because you’re looking through the fog. Keep your head up and your eyes open.