5 Career Moves Everyone Should Make in Their 30s

Sophie Miura
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via Jean Stories

When we turn 30, our beauty and style advice shifts as we enter the new phase, but what about career advice? You've spent years toiling away as a junior, thinking about the day when you'll call the shots and shape a team. Now is the time! In a recent article for Money, Daniel Bortz outlines the top career moves to consider in your 30s. We've canvassed advice from leading career experts to bring you a list of must-do moves for women who want to step up their career. Read on for our edit of career-defining shifts women in their 30s should make. 

Step Up Without Being Asked

Your 30s are a time to consolidate all the hard work you put in during your 20s. Don't let it go to waste! Jennifer McClure, a leadership consultant in Cincinnati, told Money it's vital to start flexing your leadership skills. "People get tapped for promotions, high-profile projects, and job openings because they’re widely known for being great at what they do," she says. Don't wait until you're designated a leadership position to step up. Instead, take initiative to spearhead the next project or offer to work closely with a senior team member who has management skills you'd like to learn. You'll show your boss that you're ready for extra responsibility and are adding new skills to your repertoire to make the transition. 

Keep Ex-Bosses on the Side

It's likely that by your 30s, you've worked for a handful of different companies and jumped roles. Linda Gravett, co-author of Bridging the Generation Gap, tells Money it's vital to maintain a good relationship with past employers, as they may need to vouch for you when it's time for a promotion. Stay up to date with their achievements and try to keep the conversation open, even past your final day in the office. 

Become a Mentor

For years, the prevailing career tip was to find a mentor. Now, it's time to pay it back and be a mentor. In her best selling book Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg says passing on your knowledge is one of the best ways to demonstrate leadership. "Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence," she writes. Keep an eye out for more junior members who share your ambition or offer to spearhead the internship program to give back. 

Stop Trying to Be Liked

We all want to be liked by friends and colleagues, but Bret Easton Ellis believes "the cult of likability" is holding you back. In his opinion piece for The New York TimesEaston says our consumer culture forces us to crave likes on social media and validation to feel worth. "It urges us to conform to the blandness of corporate culture," he says, something that was valuable as a junior but has no place if you aspire to be a manager. In your next meeting, rather than nodding diligently in agreement, consider ways you could reshape or improve an established workflow. Could this be done more efficiently? Is there another way? Challenge systems with innovative suggestions to show you can strategize not just implement.

Be Active at Industry Events

If you already belong to an industry organization or committee, take it one step further. Rather than attending conferences, offer to volunteer as a speaker or panelist. "Becoming a board member, or volunteering on a committee, gets you in front of recruiters," says Gravett. What's more, a government study has found that volunteering doesn't just add to your skill set, it can also help you get hired. Researchers found that people who volunteer have a 27% better chance of being employed. 

Ready to step up to the challenge? Shop our edit of the best books to boost your career, then head over to Money for more ways to show leadership in your 30s. 

How have your career goals changed in your 30s? Share your stories in the comments below. 

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