In Your 20s? Don't Make These Big Career Mistakes

Sacha Strebe

We get it; you're young, ambitious, and hungry and really want to make a ton of money, but what are you going to do about it? Hopefully you already know by now that your dream job isn't going to fall in your lap; it takes hard work, determination, and, according to Cosmopolitan.com editor Amy Odell, a few other "scary things" along the way too. The biggest advantage you have is that you're still young, but in today's competitive market, you need to start thinking about how you're going to set yourself up for success—now. So if you're ready to take charge of your career and live the professional life you've always dreamed of, then read on for some career pitfalls.

You Take the Salary You're Offered at a Job Interview

Rule number one: Always negotiate for more money when you first get the job offer. Why is this important? Well, trying to ask for a decent wage hike once you've started is so much harder. You'll need another job offer as bargaining power or have to threaten to quit, neither of which will look so good a few months into the role. "Make sure you ask for more than you think a company will pay you," says Amy. "That way you will probably end up with a little bit more than you expect or will be happy with. And you won't have to kill yourself getting another job offer to get a fat raise."

You Think the Job Will Just Magically Land at Your Feet

Remember, nothing ever comes from doing nothing. Research any of the major success stories out there, and you'll find most of them worked really hard and made sacrifices to get to the top. Odell suggests you find someone at the company you want to work for and, if they'll talk to you, ask them how to get a job there. "Then go and freaking do it!" she says. "Job hunting in itself is a full-time job, and if you're not prepared to work your ass off to get where you want to be, you'll never get there."

The Risks You Take Aren't Big Enough

You know that talented pool of successful people you admire? Have you ever stopped to think about why they are so influential? Well, we're betting they took some crazy chances and did something no one had ever thought of before, something that to some may have been considered risky but they went and did anyway. Richard Branson didn't get to where he is today by sitting back and resting on his laurels; he took on his first business venture at just 16. "If you have a big idea, don't wait for someone to ask you for it, just pitch it or go do it!" Amy adds. "Even if it makes people around you uncomfortable. You never know how many minds you'll change when your crazy ideas pan out in your organization's favor."

To read more career mistakes you don't want to make in your 20s, visit Cosmopolitan.

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