25 things young professionals must know before 25

The author hit the quarter century mark last month. She shares the lessons from her professional mistakes and missed opportunities (thus far).  

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Last month, I turned 25. Since becoming gainfully employed, I’ve made a lot of professional mistakes—and learned a few things, along the way. Here are 25 of them. Let me know if you agree, or what you would add to this list.

By 25, you should know how to:

1. Take rejection with poise.

By now you should’ve faced some sort of professional rejection. My favorite was having my résumé handed back to me after a job interview.

2. Do your own bitch work.

Empathy is an important trait for all managers. Knowing what it’s like to do the grunt work makes you appreciate those who have to do it after you. Assuming that you are not above anything will help you soar in your career.

3. Craft an appropriate LinkedIn connection invite request.

I don’t mind getting LinkedIn connection requests from random people, but it irritates me when they don’t have a tailored message and instead use the standard LinkedIn invite line. Here’s an idea for something that could work: “Hi Jenny, I noticed we both work in the Chicago marketing scene and wanted to connect with you. Maybe I could buy you a cup of coffee/tea in the near future to learn more about what you do?”

4. Ask for a raise.

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