Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.
If you’re in your 30s, you might discover that you’re hitting your stride professionally. With a few years of experience, you will likely feel more confident in your abilities. Your 30s are an excellent time to begin thinking about your long-term career goals.
During their 20s, most professionals focus on landing their first job and working their way up the corporate ladder to the next promotion and opportunity. Perhaps they set their sights on a specific title or pay grade.
When you’re in your 30s, you’ve most likely achieved a few of those goals, and it’s time to map out the following steps that can propel you toward your dream career when you land in your 40s and beyond.
Ideally, you’ve found your passion within the last decade. This coming decade should be focused on growing your professional exposure and mastering skills that will set you up to be a leader and a mentor for the later stages of your life.
1. Grow a Robust Network
Once you’ve found your footing in your career, it can be easy to get comfortable and stop trying new things. However, it’s essential to keep growing both professionally and personally, and one of the best ways to do this is to grow a robust network.
Creating new relationships can help you learn new things, find new opportunities, and keep your career fresh. If you’re not sure where to start, there are a few easy ways to grow your network:
- Reach out to your current contacts and see if they know anyone you could connect with.
- Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date and regularly network with industry groups.
- Attend industry events or meetups related to your field.
- Consider joining a professional organization or volunteer group.
2. Build an Impactful Personal Brand
If you’re in the middle of your career, now is the time to start working on your personal brand. By building up your professional networks, using social media to your advantage, and keeping your online portfolios updated, you can ensure that you’re always ahead of the curve.
Not only will this give you a leg up when it comes to future job searches, but it will also help you win internal promotion opportunities. Devote time each week to work on your brand.
3. Learn to Negotiate
For a lot of people, the idea of negotiating is uncomfortable. However, when you interact with hiring managers and are prepared to express your wants and needs, they’re likely to be more impressed by your value than if you’re willing to settle for less than you should.
And negotiating isn’t always strictly financial. Perhaps there’s a job in your future that you’d love to take, but the salary is lower than your experience should command.
At this point, you can negotiate for flexible work options, more vacation days, or other perks that can help bridge the gap. Learning to negotiate can be intimidating at first, but it’s a milestone you should master to build a career you love!
4. Set Firm Boundaries
For many of us, our 20s are a time of intense focus on our careers. We work long hours and make sacrifices in other areas of our lives to achieve our professional goals. While this tenacity is admirable, it’s essential to learn to set boundaries for your time as you enter your 30s.
Perhaps this means saying no to friends and family pulling you away from a work task you need to prioritize. Or, it may mean mastering time management so you can recognize when you need to delegate tasks or say no to a new one that you can’t manage well.
By learning to set healthy boundaries for your time, you’ll be able to create a more balanced and fulfilling life.
5. Emphasize Wellness Throughout Your Career
It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and feel like you’re always on the go. But if you don’t take a step back and recharge every once in a while, you’ll quickly burn out. That’s why it’s essential to discover balance and wellness in your life.
It’s not just about taking breaks and vacations but also making time for self-care and relationships. And if you find yourself in a toxic work environment, don’t be afraid to walk away.
Leaving on good terms is a learned skill that you should master. You’ll set yourself up for success by hitting this important milestone as you grow your career further.
Embracing Your Next Career Stage
When you’ve reached your 30s, your career goals should change to focus on achieving milestones that revolve around longevity through healthy routines and boundaries. Along the way, you can establish yourself as an industry expert, and you’ll be able to negotiate for what matters most as you have a firm understanding of your worth.
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