25 Things Every Young Professional Should Know By Age 25


If you want a job straight out of college, don't come knocking on Kirk McDonald's door.

The president of a tech company in New York City, McDonald wrote a brutally honest op-ed in the Wall Street Journal called "Sorry, College Grads, I Probably Won't Hire You." He believes most college graduates don't have the one skill that's in high demand: computer programming.

During our first few years in the real world, what else should we take time to learn?

1. It's spelled definitely, not definately

2. Read an apartment lease before you sign. ALL of it.

3. An Excel PivotTable will change your life.

4. A cover letter should add color and personality.

It shouldn’t summarize your resume.

5. Everyone likes to receive praise, but the smartest young adults actively seek constructive criticism.

6. The days of a college syllabus are long gone.

If you're waiting for someone to give you direction, have a seat. You'll be there a while.

7. Multi-tasking is great, but some moments require your undivided attention.

8. Take LinkedIn seriously.

9. Understand the pay-stub that accompanies your paycheck.

10. There’s no such thing as an overnight success.

However, people who do "break through" tend to start their day while others are still asleep.

11. Know the difference between a Roth IRA and Traditional IRA.

12. Even though college is over, you should still find extracurriculars.

Among the many reasons, clubs and organizations are terrific places to network.

13. You’re never too busy to write a thank-you note.

14. Negotiate your salary.

15. The ability to follow-through on assignments can take you from 25-year-old newbie to essential team member.

16. You probably make more money than some of your friends and less than others.

The only thing that matters is that you pay your own bills on time.

17. Bring a lunch to work.

It’s healthier and cheaper than eating out.

18. Don’t step into an interview room without research on the company and questions for the employer.

19. Dropbox. Learn it and love it.

20. Treat interns with respect.

They will provide you with management training and ease your workload.

21. To impress older business associates, ask about their own career path.

You may also learn a thing or two.

22. Under-promise. Over-deliver.

23. The less you write, the tighter the message. The less you talk, the stronger the speech.

24. The only failure in your 20s is inaction.

Everything else is trial and error.

25. Keep asking questions.

You’re halfway through the most formative decade of your life. You don’t need all the answers, but you must keep asking questions. Start with this one: what’s something new that I can learn right now?

This article was originally published in HuffPost Women.