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The latest news on Careers from Business Insider

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    triathlon swimmer

    The best way to invite good new things into your life is to make room for them.

    Just as you declutter your office and home, from time to time do a check and throw out anything that isn't helping you make your success achievable.

    Here are some good places to start.





    SEE ALSO: 18 things you need to stop doing if you want to be successful

    1. Trying to be perfect.

    Perfectionism sets us up for failure. It's not a quest for the best but a way of telling yourself you'll never be good enough.

    2. Playing small.

    Expand your horizons. Go big. Grow! Sometimes the process is painful, but it's worth it.

    3. Faking it.

    Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're always strong.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    asiana airlines flight attendants

    There's a lot more to being a flight attendant than serving passengers food and drinks: in fact, airlines look for very specific attributes when hiring flight attendants.

    We took a look at a Quora thread that asks, "What are airlines looking for in flight attendants?"

    Here's what we learned:

    Candidates must be able to keep passengers safe.

    Flight attendants

    According to Marisa Garcia, an aviation industry writer who has worked in the industry for over 20 years, "universally the first priority is to ensure that cabin crew can perform their primary duties as safety personnel."

    Garcia refers to flight attendants as "safety professionals," and says that they must be trained in how to save lives, how to handle in-flight medical emergencies and cabin fires, and how to properly evacuate an aircraft.

    She also says that this training is continuous, and that in order to keep their jobs, flight attendants must be able to pass regular safety drills. 

    Physical appearance still plays a big role.

    flight attendants

    An anonymous Quora user who claims to have been a flight attendant for the past two years says, "'Appearance,' while not as overtly used as a focus at American carriers as at some non-American carriers, is definitely a part of the recruiting process."

    The user rates herself a four out of 10 on a scale of attractiveness (10 being the most attractive), and says that while she has multiple college degrees, and customer service and managerial experience, none of the four airlines she interviewed with before receiving her current position offered her a job. 

    "Once the visual component is thrown into the analysis, this usually ends my interview process," the user says. She says that if airlines are forced to choose between candidates who have the same skills, they'll go with the more conventionally attractive candidate.

    How you carry yourself makes a difference.

    flight attendant

    Nuralia Mazlan, who's been a flight attendant for two major airlines, says that she once had the chance to ask a recruiter why she was hired.

    "Unbeknownst to me, the recruiters note how we carry ourselves from the moment we enter the interview room, to the moment they end the interview session. In fact, they asked the guys who took our height and weight measurement to see if we interact well with them," Mazlan says.

    She says that flight attendants come into contact with people from all walks of life, and therefore need to exhibit finesse and good people skills.

    Also, note the fact that her height and weight were measured, which leads back to the point on appearance.

    Some other attributes airlines look for:

    Flight Attendant Serving Passengers

    Besides the specifics listed above, Garcia says there are a few other general qualities airlines look for in the personalities of their flight attendants:

    • intelligence
    • patience
    • resourcefulness
    • the ability to be gracious, yet assertive
    • resilience

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A mysterious cloud moving 700,000 mph is going to collide with our galaxy — here's what will happen

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    friends selfie

    The internet may be made up of millions of anonymous strangers, but those strangers can still share some pretty great life advice.

    One of the most common questions to come up on Reddit's AskReddit threads is young people asking how to live without regret.

    Thousands of people have weighed in over the last several years, offering advice to people of all ages.

    Here are some of the shiniest pearls of wisdom from people over 40 to people still in their 30s:

    SEE ALSO: Redditors give 20-somethings advice on how to enter your 30s without regrets

    "Big goals are just checkpoints and have far less punch in hindsight."

    "Big goals are just checkpoints and have far less punch in hindsight. The day-to-day moments of sitting around with friends, cuddling on the couch, laughing together at a funny joke, those moments burn in memory and hold all of the real importance. Attaining or not attaining goals seems to have nothing to do with happiness. Looking back, some of my biggest failures that seemed so catastrophic at the time, feel meaningless. They are just part of my story. The people I've lost, I miss every day. It's only about the people."— clickclickfizzle

    "Multitasking is an oxymoron."

    "I regret ... living in a shallow blur, by doing too many things adequately vs. a few meaningful things really, really well.

    "Multitasking is an oxymoron, and your inbox will always be full — that is its job. But being excellent in a few cherished things (playing piano, skiing, photography, whatever) gives a lasting reward."— mustlovecash

    "Stay fit and healthy guys. It's a long way back once you lose it!"

    "I got married in my late 20s and really settled into a sedentary lifestyle right through my 30s. Stacked on too much weight and the lack of exercise and terrible diet now sees me having some fairly significant health issues before I even hit 45.

    "Stay fit and healthy guys. It's a long way back once you lose it!"— Ozguy23

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    There are certain traits that extremely successful people share. Here are five traits that high achievers tend to demonstrate in daily life. 

    Follow BI Video: On Facebook


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    Work meetings aren't always fun. In fact, they're usually just the opposite.

    However, when you're required to attend one, it's important that you conduct yourself in a respectful and professional manner among your coworkers, bosses, and current or prospective clients — no matter how busy or bored you may be.

    Barbara Pachter, a career coach and author of "The Essentials Of Business Etiquette," gave us a few tips to maintain a positive and professional image while in a meeting. We compiled her advice in the graphic below:

    BI_Graphics_Meeting etiquette

    Vivian Giang contributed to this article.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Turns out people make these snap judgments about you within seconds of meeting you

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    If you're planning on moving to Canada, their Express Entry program selects certain occupations at a higher rate.

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    Bethenny Frankel, founder of Skinnygirl, author and entrepreneur, discusses whether or not she believes money can buy happiness.

    Follow BI Video:On Twitter 

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    Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and author of "Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations." He discusses why bonuses do not motivate employees to work harder like most companies believe.

    Follow BI Video:On Twitter

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    Brad Pitt

    Everyone's got to get their start somewhere.

    Sometimes that means taking a strange or terrible job before moving on to something bigger and better. 

    Here are 28 of the weirdest jobs that famous people had before making it big.

    SEE ALSO: The unglamorous summer jobs 21 successful people had before they made it big

    President Obama scooped ice cream

    That's right. The current president of the United States worked at Baskin-Robbins in high school, as Business Insider previously reported.

    He wrote about the experience on LinkedIn: "Scooping ice cream is tougher than it looks. Rows and rows of rock-hard ice cream can be brutal on the wrists."



    Mariah Carey was a hat checker

    Like many other rising celebs, Carey worked many jobs. At one point, she worked as a hat checker. According to IMBD, Carey stated that she "got fired from all her jobs because of her attitude and was concentrating on becoming a [backup] singer and mixing demos."

    The Pope was a bouncer

    Can you imagine getting tossed out of a bar by the Pope?

    Pope Francis — who was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio — worked several odd jobs before joining the Society of Jesus. These included testing chemicals at a lab and working as a bouncer at a bar, according to the Fiscal Times.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    A man looking tired at his desk

    Work can be taxing for everyone, and we all occasionally feel weary after a long day at the office.

    But if your life is a chronic state of stress and exhaustion thanks to work, you're probably suffering fromjob burnout.

    Sometimes it's hard to notice when the physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion from work is taking its toll, but with the help of burnout specialist Ben Fanning and medical experts, we're able to identify some warning signs.

    By taking note of these common signs workers exhibit when they're burnt out at work, you can take steps to avoid burnout entirely in your current role or reignite your career, Fanning says.

    DON'T MISS: 14 TED Talks to watch when you're feeling totally burned out

    SEE ALSO: 16 signs it's time to quit your job

    Feeling depleted after work

    Consistently lacking the energy after work to do regular things like cook, go to the gym, or spend time with your family is not a good sign.

    Disregarding how you treat coworkers or customers

    If you're planning to quit or you're just sick of dealing with the same people every day, it may be reflected in how you treat your coworkers.

    Constantly being asked about your feelings

    Do your coworkers often approach you because they're worried that you're struggling or down on yourself? This is a signal that others are picking up on your misery.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    We sat down with Virgin Group founder and chairman Richard Branson at the Virgin office in New York City to discuss his new film "Don't Look Down" and how his near-death experiences reflect his entrepreneurial spirit.

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    lloyd blankfein

    To get a job at Goldman Sachs, you've got to know your stuff. But financial knowledge alone isn't enough to land you a highly coveted gig at the financial giant.

    To make the cut, you'll need to prove you have the skills, experience, and motivation to thrive — and you'll also need to prove that you're a good cultural fit. In other words: You'll need to ace the interview.

    We sifted through reports from Glassdoor to find some of the trickiest and diciest interview questions Goldman has to offer.

    Whether you're applying to be a summer associate or a VP, here are a few questions to master before you walk in the door:

    • 'If you were an object, what would you be?' — Financial-analyst candidate
    • 'If you were asked to move this 30-plus story building across the Hudson River, what would you do?' — Technology-analyst candidate
    • 'How would your past supervisors describe you?' — Legal entity management analyst candidate
    • 'If you can race only five horses at a time, given 20 horses, what is the lowest number of races you need to host to determine the top three horses?' — Software engineer candidate
    • 'If you had to make a program that could vote for the top three funniest people in the office, how would you do it?' — Technology-analyst candidate
    • 'Sell yourself in 30 seconds.' — Summer analyst candidate
    • 'What would cause you to stop using the internet?' — Extended-managing-director candidate
    • 'Is there anything about this job which makes you nervous?' — Operations-analyst candidate
    • 'Tell me about a time that you failed and weren't able to fix it.' — Summer-associate candidate
    • 'What is one characteristic you have that would prevent us from hiring you?' — Operations-analyst candidate
    • 'What frustrates you?' — Financial-analyst candidate
    • 'What do you do if a client insists on making a trade or transaction that you know is not profitable for them in the long run, but it would benefit the bank?' — Operations-analyst candidate
    • 'What happens when you type into the web browser?' — Summer-analyst candidate
    • 'Suppose you had eight identical balls. One of them is slightly heavier and you are given a balance scale. What's the fewest number of times you have to use the scale to find the heavier ball?' — Software-engineering-intern candidate
    • 'What is the most interesting business idea you've ever heard about?' — Analyst candidate
    • 'Can you tell me about a time when you were in a team as a member, not a leader?' — Corporate-service and real-estate candidate
    • 'Do you need us more than we need you?' — Mortgage-private-wealth candidate
    • 'What, in your opinion, led to the financial crisis?' — Operations-analyst candidate
    • 'What's your opinion about Adolf Hitler?' — Operations-analyst candidate
    • 'If you were arrested for something that you believed wasn't wrong, what would you do?' — Hedge fund-analyst candidate
    • 'You are a waitress at a restaurant with an employee policy that all tips are put in a jar and split at the end of the day between the wait staff. A very satisfied customer gives you a large tip and tells you not to share it because you deserved it. You also know that some of the other waiters and waitresses have been pocketing their tips. What would you do in this scenario?' — Legal-analyst candidate
    • 'Name a current issue in the news that will affect business at Goldman.' — Analyst-intern candidate
    • 'If I asked one of your honest friends to tell me one good and bad thing about yourself, what would they say?' — Research-associate candidate
    • 'If a trader comes to you with a trade that he wants you to do immediately, but you need to go through the appropriate means to make sure it's good for the company, what do you do?' — Summer-analyst candidate
    • 'How many square feet of pizza are eaten in the US each year?' — Programmer-analyst candidate

    This is an update of a story originally written by Rachel Sugar.

    SEE ALSO: 13 tough interview questions you may have to answer if you want to become a flight attendant

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 9 phrases on your résumé that make hiring managers cringe

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    Career advice expert for TopResume Amanda Augustine says that in her findings 50% of recruiters look at cover letters. Be sure to include these things in your letter to stand out.

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    Prelude Fertility CEO Martin Varsavsky shares his advice on startng a business, saying people who start companies are "people who just can't live without starting companies."

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    Click here to apply for this position

    Crystal BallWe're hiring a Senior Research Analyst to lead our Payments research team, as part of our growing team at Business Insider Intelligence. Candidates will have 3-5 years of relevant work experience.

    We’re looking for a Senior Research Analyst with a vision for how to make our payments research products more exciting and insightful than anything else on the market. If you have strong research experience, a knack for story telling, and a passion for payments, this is a great role for you. 

    The Senior Research Analyst will set the Payments research agenda and manage and mentor a team of analysts, ensuring the delivery of quality, forward-looking analysis to our clients. 

    The Senior Research Analyst will work closely with BI Intelligence’s editorial team to produce insightful in-depth reports and data-driven analyses on the most impactful trends shaping the payments industry. Areas of coverage include: mobile payments, P2P payments, remittances, payments security, mPOS and others.

    She or he will represent BI Intelligence at leading industry events and be able to identify and extract what our clients need to know about emerging trends, disruptive technologies, and the digital landscape.

    About BI Intelligence

    BI Intelligence is a fast-growing research service from Business Insider. BI Intelligence offers insights essential to companies making strategic decisions across the mobile, digital media, e-commerce, Internet of Things, payments, and digital financial services industries. Our clients are Fortune 1000 companies, startups, advertising agencies, investment firms, and media conglomerates that have come to rely on our timely, forward-looking insights to keep atop of trends shaping the digital landscape.

    Desired Skills

    • Thorough understanding of the payments industry and broader financial services
    • Track record of clear and concisely-written research covering complex topics
    • Ability to quickly sort through masses of information, identify data-driven trends, and understand what really matters and why
    • Excellent management and communication skills
    • Desire to work in fast-paced and fast-changing environment
    • Ability to develop and defend actionable insights and conclusions
    • Comfort and experience presenting, speaking at conferences or on panels, or the desire to further develop these skills
    • Proficiency with excel, data, and charts
    • 4-6 years of professional writing / research experience
    • Experience with advanced statistical methods, writing syntax/queries, and/or programming languages is helpful but not required

    If this is the right opportunity for you, please apply online and tell us why you’re a good fit for the role. Thanks in advance! 

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Thanksgiving travel

    Checking your email on vacation can be just as tempting as checking your text messages at work.

    In fact, 44% of working adults say they check work email every day while on vacation, according to the American Psychological Association. About one in 10 check email hourly.

    The temptation is understandable. Who wants to click through hundreds or thousands of emails after returning from a time of rest and relaxation?

    Some people even say the post-vacation email deluge makes them dread going on vacation in the first place.

    However, research shows that stress levels tend to increase when you have access to your inbox during your time off, and that in order to return to work refreshed and rejuvenated, you need to unplug completely during vacation.

    Here are five email hacks that can hopefully help you do that this holiday season:

    Natalie Walters contributed to a previous version of this article.

    SEE ALSO: The majority of Americans are making this huge mistake that can hold them back at work

    DON'T MISS: Here's the truth about whether it's OK to be unreachable during your vacation from work

    Set your auto-responder to expire a couple of days after you get back from vacation

    "The most important hack is to setting the expectation that you will be back later," Dmitri Leonov, VP of growth for Sanebox,previously told Business Insider. This buys you a couple of extra days to play catch-up at work before responding to emails, and gives you the peace of mind while you're away that your return to work won't be totally overwhelming.

    Plus, when you come back to work on Monday but your out-of-office email doesn't expire until Wednesday, people are really impressed when you get back to them first thing Wednesday morning, Leonov says.

    Install a filter to separate important or urgent emails from unimportant, non-urgent ones

    Everyone should have a filter that sorts emails into "important" and "unimportant" folders, Leonov says. These filters, like Google priority or his own tool, Sanebox, allow you to quickly scan through your unimportant emails and delete them all at once when you return to work.

    "Having an active filter is going to save you a disproportionate amount of time when you're back," Leonov says.


    Filter out recurring emails

    Daily updates from your go-to news sites or weekly notifications about meetings are helpful — if you're in office.

    While you're out of the office, though, make sure to filter out these recurring updates, notifications, and newsletters so you don't waste time deleting them during or after vacation when they are obsolete.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Party networking talking

    Parties where you know virtually no one can be awkward, especially if you're not sure how to start a conversation.

    You could rely on the classic "So what do you do for a living?" But then you run the risk of coming off as the least interesting or original person at the party.

    Maybe you're interested in making a new professional contact, or perhaps you simply want to make a good impression on a friend of a friend.

    Whatever the reason, busting out the clichés upon the first introduction is never a good idea.

    To mix the conversation up a bit, try using one of these 17 icebreakers. They should help ease you into an engaging conversation with people you've never met before.


    A smile, a name, and a confident handshake can sometimes go a long way, writes Ariella Coombs, a content manager for

    "Sometimes the easiest way to meet someone is to offer a handshake and say 'hi,'" she writes.

    'What do you do for fun when you're not working?'

    Asking personal questions about people's activities outside of work can help solidify a connection, Shan White, owner of Women's Peak Performance Coaching, tells Refinery29.

    Asking about someone's after-work hobbies is "semi-personal, yet still professionally acceptable to ask," White says. "This can bring some levity and humor into the conversation while also letting you see what lights them up — what brings them real joy."

    'Hey guys, do you mind if I join you just to eavesdrop?'

    As Tim Ferriss, author of "The 4-Hour Workweek," previously told Business Insider, his policy is: If two people are conversing at a networking event, then it's rude to interrupt them — but if it's a group of three or more, then you can politely ask to join the conversation using this approach.

    Once you've been granted permission to listen in, standby until someone says something you don't understand. At that point, Ferris says you should ask: "Could you clarify that for me?" Someone will hopefully ask who you are, giving you a window to make your introduction, he explains.

    'I'll be honest, the only person I know here is the bartender, and I just met him two minutes ago. Mind if I introduce myself?'

    Humor is a good method to put another attendee at ease and jump-start a lighthearted conversation.

    'Hmmm, I'm not quite sure what that dish is. Do you know?'

    Rather than silently stand in line for food, take the opportunity to start a conversation about the topic on everyone's mind: food.

    Ask about the dish they think looks good, or the mystery dish, Coombs writes. "Who knows, you might leave the buffet with a better plate of food AND a new contact."

    'Hey, aren't you friends with ...?'

    Even if you don't really think you know this person, you can walk up to anyone and ask if they are friends with someone else who is at the event, writes Jessica Gordon of The Daily Muse.

    If they say no, feign a mild surprised reaction and conversation will commence.

    'Have any fun trips planned?'

    The holidays are a popular time for people to travel, and talking about plans is almost guaranteed to get the conversation going because most people have some idea of where they'd like to go, even if it's in the distant future, and love to talk about it. And if the details haven't been hashed out yet, it's easy for your conversation partner to say "No, but I'd love to go to ..."

    'Are you from around here?'

    Asking a location-based question will help you jump-start an engaging conversation with ease because "it doesn't feel like you are asking for a stiff elevator speech," Diane Gottsman, national etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School of Texas, tells US News and World Report.

    The conversation will allow both parties to talk about themselves, which is the ultimate goal when starting a conversation.

    'Did you hear about ...?'

    Be sure to scan the headlines the day of the party so you can ask for opinions about it, especially if it affects someone's line of work, writes Levo League's Meredith Lepore. This topic will get a discussion going, and it will show that you keep up with current events. That's a win-win, she says.

    Of course, while misery may love company, there's nothing worse for a first impression than a negative attitude.

    Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, an etiquette and civility expert and the author of "Don't Burp in the Boardroom,"advises against controversial topics like politics or religion.

    'Have you started watching ...?'

    If it's the hottest new show on Netflix, odds are people have heard of it at the very least, and they may even be able to talk in detail with you about if they're also avid fans.

    If they haven't watched yet, you could follow up by asking what shows they've been into lately. You'll probably stumble upon something you have in common at some point.

    'Great shoes!'

    If you genuinely like something someone is wearing, compliment them, Michelle Tillis Lederman, CEO of the professional-development firm Executive Essentials, tells US News and World Report.

    Not only will they be flattered, but you can also ask a follow-up question about where they got the item, which could lead to a fun conversation. One caveat: Don't fake it, Lederman warns. People can easily sniff out disingenuousness.

    'Man, this party's getting crazy. Mind if I join you over here where it's a little quieter?'

    Find someone on the outskirts of the ongoing conversations and introduce yourself, says Coombs.

    Since they are alone and possibly looking miserable, they are probably uncomfortable with the social situation, Coombs says. By initiating the interaction, you can help to put them at ease and get them into the flow of a conversation.

    'What did you think of this ...?'

    Conversations flow around common experiences, so Lederman says to bring up the one thing you know you both have in common: What's going on around you.

    Asking about the party, the group discussion, or even the restaurants around the area will give you both a chance to contribute to the conversation.

    'Would you have any insight or advice on ...?'

    Letting people use their expertise to help you will make them feel good and be more open to connecting with you, Lederman tells CareerBliss.

    You can ask about anything, from a work project to their opinion on which new car you should buy. Just be sure to genuinely listen and reflect on their advice, Lederman says. As the old saying goes we have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.

    'What's your reality-TV guilty pleasure?'

    Almost everyone watches at least one show that they're at least a little embarrassed about, ZinePak cofounder Brittany Hodak tells Inc., and she says that sharing those guilty pleasures with a stranger is fun.

    "It's funny how quickly you can bond with someone who admits to sharing your secret obsession," Hodak says.

    'What's your favorite part about what you do?'

    If you still really want to find out what the person you're talking to does for a living, you could try spinning the question by asking what your conversation partner loves about their job or what's the most memorable thing that happened at their job.

    This also has the added benefit of keeping the conversation positive, which will leave people with a more positive impression of you.

    "Well, you guys are certainly having more fun than the last group I was talking to."

    If all else fails, try something totally random that just might work, write the editors at The Daily Muse, like inserting yourself into an engaging conversation by commenting on how fun their group looks from the outside.

    Natalie Walters contributed to an earlier version of this article.

    SEE ALSO: 21 common networking mistakes to avoid at all costs

    DON'T MISS: Here's why you should keep your smartphone in your pocket the next time you're bored

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Unorthodox questions you may have to answer if you want to work at Chipotle

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    young professional woman

    Go skinny dipping, stay up all night partying in a foreign city, climb a mountain — there are plenty of adventures you should check off your personal bucket list before turning the big 3-0.

    But what about your professional to-do list?

    We polled the experts and collected the milestones you'd be wise to hit early on in your career.

    Here's what every intrepid professional should do before turning 30:

    1. Get fired

    "Getting fired early on can be a brutally tough life experience, but it can serve as a huge wake-up call for change if there was a performance issue," Michael Kerr, author of "The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank,"told Business Insider.

    Getting this out of the way in your 20s could also alert you to being on the wrong career path and teach you to develop the skills necessary to always have a viable backup plan, he said.

    2. Quit a dud job

    "Life's too short to stay in a job you hate, and your 20s are the time to take that kind of a risk," says Kate Swoboda, creator of the Courageous Coaching Training Program.

    Swoboda suggests you swap your dead-end job for a salaried position that you like better or that you start working for yourself.

    "And before you think that you can't work for yourself, remember: This is the digital age, and anyone with the right amount of heart, hustle, and patience can make a living online," she says.

    3. Write a simple vision statement

    "You've got to know where you want to go if you want to get there," Swoboda says.

    Your vision statement needn't be a long manifesto, she says. You simply need to capture the "why" of what you do.

    You can home in on your vision statement by answering: "How do I want to feel when I go into work each day?""How does my work positively impact my life or the lives of others?" and "What feels satisfying about this line of work?"

    4. Have strategies for managing stress

    Living in a chronic state of stress and exhaustion can take its toll on you physically, mentally, and emotionally, and if brought on by work it can lead to job burnout.

    You won't make it far past 30 in your career if you don't pick up some strategies for managing stress.

    5. Take ownership of your time

    Proper time management is a skill you should have down by the time you hit 30, says Barry S. Saltzman, a business-strategy expert who is the CEO of Saltzman Enterprise Group.

    You may get away with being all over the place as an intern, but it's not cute when you're leading the team and you can't get your own act together.

    Time is money, Saltzman points out, and no company will be happy with needlessly wasted money: "Learning by 30 what makes you efficient is important to professional development, and beyond that, improved efficiency makes you look a lot better in the eyes of your superiors."

    6. Craft an engaging elevator pitch

    Once you understand your vision, you must figure out how you will explain it to others.

    "Sharing that you're a copywriter or that you work in finance is fine and dandy, but it doesn't make you stand out or inspire people to want to ask you follow-up questions," says Michelle Ward, a creative career coach and coauthor of "The Declaration of You!"

    Instead, when people inquire about what you do, answer with your "what,""who," and "how." Don't be afraid to mention what you're passionate about, the types of people you help, and what you do for them specifically, she says.

    When Ward introduces herself, she tells people that she offers dream-career guidance for creative women. "That way, the person listening can connect with what I'm saying or introduce me to any creative women they know who are looking for dream-career guidance," she says.

    7. Become an expert

    "By the time 30 rolls around, you owe it to yourself to know what you can do," Saltzman says.

    "From both a professional standpoint and a branding standpoint, being an expert in a particular field is more important than I can say."

    His advice: Avoid being a jack-of-all-trades and put the effort in early to become extraordinary at something.

    8. Learn to accept rejection gracefully

    Rejection, no matter the pursuit it stems from, isn't fun, Quora user Christi Wentz writes, but it's a part of life.

    "When that happens, acknowledge the loss, but move on," Wentz says. "Don't spend your energy or dignity insulting the person whose approval you once craved simply because they didn't give it to you. You will only make yourself bitter, and you will look like a fool."

    9. Keep a 'win book'

    This is a place where you store all the compliments you receive about your work and your wins and accomplishments, Ward says.

    "By keeping it all in one place, you'll be able to articulate what you do well, how you add value, and what you accomplish," she says.

    Your win book doesn't need to be tangible. Ward says she uses Evernote to copy and paste the niceties she gets over email.

    Next time your work review rolls around or you need to write a cover letter, you can pull out the book for some inspiration.

    10. Send an email to someone you admire

    Whether the person you admire wrote your favorite book, changed the corporate culture in a company for the better, or has shown corporations how they can use their profit for good, Swoboda suggests you reach out and tell them why you appreciate what they're up to.

    "Often, people hesitate to send a note like this because they assume that it won't be read, but you'd be surprised how often a leader in her field will appreciate the gesture and respond with a thank-you," she says.

    11. Pitch and lead a passion project

    Whether you dream of leading the annual corporate retreat or having a lunchtime book club, Ward suggests you ask yourself what would make your workday more enjoyable and meaningful. Then go for it.

    Your workplace dream could even reflect your future career goals or transitions, she says, like offering to plan the holiday party if you want to try your hand at event planning.

    If you're not sure your boss would go for it, she suggests putting everything together on your own time. "Remember that it still counts as experience for your résumé!"

    12. Pay it forward

    Your 20s are usually focused on getting ahead, Swoboda says, while your 30s are all about giving back.

    "Instead of holding all your best ideas close to your chest so that you can privately pitch them to the boss, share them in a meeting," she suggests. When coworkers complain about a problem, ask, "How can I help?" And don't be afraid to acknowledge the work of others in front of higher-ups.

    "Trust me when I say that it's what people will remember you for, and it's the best return on investment around for your career."

    13. Become a master communicator

    "Sadly, a lot of people don't take the time to improve their communication skills, and their career trajectory suffers because of it," Saltzman says.

    By 30 you should be able to iterate ideas efficiently and accurately, and poor writing skills are simply inexcusable, he says. "Everything you say or write is representative of you as a person, so why settle for poor writing?"

    14. Learn to network

    You may hate it, but networking is essential to building and growing a successful career. Research has shown that there is a direct correlation between networking strategically and increased income.

    To be an effective networker you need to step out of your comfort zone — and it also helps to avoid the common mistakes many people make.

    15. Take control of your social-media presence

    "Don't let your personal Facebook account speak to potential employers or clients for you," Ward says.

    To make sure you're in control of how you're perceived online, she suggests setting up a blog and an page and updating your LinkedIn profile.

    16. Embrace conflict

    "Conflict is everywhere, so there's no excuse not to learn to handle it," Saltzman says. "Where many shy away from different issues, embracing them and taking the time to solve them improves efficiency for everyone involved."

    17. Volunteer

    This may seem more appropriate for your personal bucket list, but volunteering can do wonders for your professional life, too. Donating your time can teach you a new skill, help add something special to your résumé, and you allow you to meet new connections with similar interests as you.

    18. Keep learning

    The fact that it has been a few years since you've set foot in a classroom doesn't mean you should stop learning.

    And don't limit yourself to subjects that would have an obvious impact on your career. After dropping out of college, Steve Jobs still audited the occasional class, and one course he took on calligraphy was a huge influence on him and inspired "the wonderful typography" personal computers have today.

    DON'T MISS: 27 signs you're burned out at work

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