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The Best Career Advice People in Their 30s Need to Hear

Just like all stages of life, your 30s come with new career opportunities and challenges that you'll have to embrace. Here is the best career advice that will change your 30s.

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Just like all stages of life, your 30s come with new career opportunities and challenges that you'll have to embrace. Here is the best career advice that will change your 30s.


30 is the new 20! But not in the career world. Time is precious when it comes to your career. Whether you’re in your 20s, 30s or older, every year and season in your life matters. You cannot afford to go through life casually at any age. Every age in your life has expectations, of course, when all factors are constant.

Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, recently gave a TED talk that could get you sweating if you are turning 30 or already in your 30s. She argues that the 30s are not the new 20s. Every age has its developments, and we cannot keep pushing them forward to others. That said, at 30 years, there are things you ought to know before it's too late. I know life offers second chances, but you will never know how sweet your first chances are if you do not grab them while they are still available.

Many professionals would swear that their careers kicked off right after university. Well, you have a degree to prove you can handle basic assignments at work. But this career journey never stays the same.  If you do not grow quickly, you could be outgrown by changes you didn’t see coming. In your 20s, right after grad school, there’s a lot of pressure to get your first job and paycheque, which is the dream. However, years later, it ceases to be about that. You need more and want to be able to make significant contributions.  You start thinking big, and it is now more about the future you want to build, not just being employed. 

This stage of reflection normally happens when people are approaching their 30s or are already there. This is why your 30s should be handled preciously. These are your prime years that you cannot afford to waste. Whatever you prepare for in your 20s, this is when it pays off. The best way to navigate life is by carrying a blueprint to glance back on whenever you feel stuck. Today, we share the best career advice to help you fully maximize your 30s.


Here is some of the best career advice people in their 30s need to hear:


1. Get some identity capital

Your 30s are the best time to seal your professional identity. This is the time to get a professional degree or certificate if you missed the chance. Many young people only have their degree transcripts to show, which gets you through your early career years. However, expect tables to turn in your 30s. The older you are, the more is expected of you. The competition is no longer with recent graduates but experienced professionals in both skills and qualifications. The earlier you learn this, the better. Invest in a professional certification through weekend or evening classes to help you increase your competence in your career field.

Still, on identity capital, this is the time to treasure your work experience. Job hopping never pays off well in your 30s. Recruiters are looking for individuals who have more stable careers. It is key that you gain a good experience of about 2 to 3 years in the career field you want to pursue. This will increase your chances of developing your career and entering into the senior-level job grade. 

Your experience and qualifications become your professional identity. 

2. Leverage your network

In your 30s, you are more likely to have friends and former workmates who have made it to top positions in their firms and are now key decision-makers. If you want to land your dream role in your 30s, your network might be the gateway. Do not be afraid to ask a long-time friend to coffee just to catch up. 

Networking in your 30s also allows you to increase your knowledge as you learn from those around you. How did she become a Manager in her firm? What did he study to get that promotion? How has their company increased sales? All these answers can be obtained from coffee and lunch dates with friends within your network. Remember, your 30s are not about competition but becoming the better version of yourself. 

3. It's time to get a career coach

Enough of making uncalculated moves. If you are unsure about taking that new job, ask for career advice from an experienced professional. Not sure about your career choice anymore? Seek guidance. There is less room to make mistakes in your 30s. Do not waste your precious time considering whether to choose company X or Y. Career coaches cease to become a luxury in your 30s; you need them. 

4. Monetize your hobbies and skills

Wondering when is the best time to start that side hustle? Your 30s could be the right time for that. Switch your hobbies into side incomes. Instead of emceeing your friends' events for free, you might want to attach a cost to it. As much as we want to settle into our careers at 30+ years, do not let your skills die in the closet. 

Here are some career choices that might help you develop your skills. 

Every stage in your life has the potential to impact your career, and we must realise that there is not much time to mess up. Your 20s are your early career years when you find a job and grow in a specific industry. On the other hand, your 30s are your prime years, where every professional decision you make counts. 

Written by

Mercy Mukisa

Hey there, I'm Mercy Mukisa, a Senior HR Officer writing to you from the lively heart of Uganda. Writing is my way of contributing to the professional community, grounded in the belief that knowledge is the key to empowerment. In the dynamic field of HR, I'm not just a participant; I see it as a privilege to share the insights and experiences gathered along the way. It's not just about the job; it's a commitment to enhancing your professional journey. So, let's navigate through the pages of my articles together, aiming for a balanced and insightful exploration of empowerment and growth.

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