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The Top Essential Habits Every Young Professional Should Adopt

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To help young professionals fast-track their career success, we gathered insights from founders, coaches, and executives on the habits they should adopt. From adopting a solution-oriented mindset to practicing risk-taking as a habit, here are the top 10 habits shared by these experts to accelerate your success in the professional world.

  • Adopt a Solution-Oriented Mindset

  • Embrace Networking as a Key Tool

  • Take Action and Learn from Feedback

  • Master Meaningful Follow-Up Techniques

  • Build Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn

  • Cultivate Adaptability and a Growth Mindset

  • Focus Forward and Build Confidence

  • Make Continuous Learning a Habit

  • Take Higher Responsibilities and Set Boundaries

  • Practice Risk-Taking as a Habit

Adopt a Solution-Oriented Mindset

As a young professional, you can only be expected to know so much and to have all the answers. However, you can and should start creating a mindset of offering an opinion and a solution to any task or problem you are asked to tackle.

Even with limited knowledge, tell your boss your solution or answer. Explain how you arrived at that conclusion. Ask what you are missing and how your boss would arrive at a different conclusion. This approach will sharpen your thinking skills and will direct you to be solutions-oriented. This will itself distinguish you from your colleagues who all too often don’t want to do the hard thinking ahead of time or are intimidated by the superior knowledge of their manager.

You, in contrast, will show that you are a professional who is an up-and-comer, looking to learn and showing early signs of seeing the big-picture objectives of the organization. Leaders are solutions-minded.

Brion Bickerton, Executive Coach, Career Counselor and Recruiter, MDL Partners

Embrace Networking as a Key Tool

Networking is the most underrated tool for young professionals. You never know where your next professional opportunity will come from, so I suggest treating everyone you meet like a potential stepping stone. Success in business is often about who you know, not just what you know. Building a network gives you access to more people who can help you reach your goals. Most importantly, don't forget to return the favor to others.

Alli Hill, Founder and Director, Fleurish Freelance

Take Action and Learn from Feedback

Far too often, we want the project, pitch, or essay to be perfect, which cripples our ability to move forward. We think perfectionism is a noble trait, but actually, this trait is born out of fear. Fear that it won't be good enough, fear to take a chance.

In order for young professionals to accelerate their success, we must lean on the side of taking action. If the project, pitch, or essay needs more work, at least by taking action, you gain valuable feedback that would improve your efforts the next time. If you never take action, you will not have this valuable feedback, and you will not know how to improve moving forward. We have to acknowledge when it's good enough and move on it. As Sheryl Sandberg said, "Done is better than perfect."

Elisha Peterson MD MeD FAAP FASA, Anesthesiologist and Pain Medicine Physician, Elisha Peterson MD PLLC

Master Meaningful Follow-Up Techniques

One of the most impactful practices you can create is intentional, personalized follow-up after meeting someone new. You're likely told all the time that networking is important, and it is! Here's a great way to create an impression that can last for years to come.

After an event, meeting, or social gathering where you met someone who you felt a connection with, reach out to them and express how you were impacted by your conversation, their presentation, etc. Here are a few prompts to consider to construct your message:

  • What about them impressed you?

  • What synergies do you feel with them and/or their work?

  • What potential do you see for collaboration, now or in the future?

  • What idea or insight did you have as a result of your conversation?

  • Do you want to ask for a 1:1 meet-up?

You can send this in an email, via LinkedIn, or whatever platform you'd like to use to connect. Implementing this practice builds meaningful relationships that can be mutually beneficial for years to come.

Emily Pasnak-Lapchick, Founder, Coach, Social Impact Consultant, Chrysalis Exchange

Build Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn

One habit that young professionals should adopt to accelerate their success is building their personal brand on LinkedIn. This platform is a powerful tool for showcasing skills, experiences, and professional insights. By regularly sharing thoughtful content, engaging with others in their field, and actively participating in relevant discussions, young professionals can establish a strong personal brand.

This not only helps them stand out to potential employers or clients, but also opens up opportunities for networking and collaboration, significantly accelerating their career growth.

Jaya Iyer, Marketing Assistant, Teranga Digital Marketing

Cultivate Adaptability and Growth Mindset

The ability to adapt to new situations and embrace change is becoming increasingly important. Young professionals who cultivate adaptability will quickly make big strides. Adopting a growth mindset will help with this and enable them to navigate through transitions, uncertainty, and unexpected challenges with greater ease.

Focus Forward and Build Confidence

There are many habits, but one that comes to mind is not to ruminate. I read a book recently about the several habits that hold one back, and this really resonated with me. When we ruminate, we keep looking back on all the mistakes and what went wrong. Instead of embracing what is ahead and not “chewing the cud.”

Regurgitating all that was said or unsaid. This is counterproductive and can ruin a budding career. It also doesn’t help when aspiring to be a leader. What did they mean? Why did I not get the promotion? So many questions that one will never have answers.

Look forward and have the innate confidence in yourself and what you bring to ALL tables that I am here for a reason. I matter and I belong here. Everywhere you go, you might need to make this affirmation a priority to yourself so you can stand tall yet firm in who you are. Don’t keep playing the blaming script in your head. Own any mistakes, get valuable lessons, and be better. We are human, for goodness' sake.

Make Continuous Learning a Habit

One habit that young professionals should adopt to accelerate their success is to always be learning. In today's rapidly changing world, the ability to continuously acquire new knowledge and skills is crucial for staying ahead and achieving long-term success.

By cultivating a mindset of continuous learning, emerging professionals can develop the ability to adapt to new challenges and changes in their industry. This adaptability is essential in an evolving job market where new technologies and trends emerge regularly. It also broadens perspectives, increases critical thinking abilities, and draws out a person’s creative genius. These qualities can help young professionals tackle complex problems and generate innovative ideas.

By making learning a habit, young professionals can discover networking opportunities and acquire additional knowledge and skills, which in turn increases their competitive advantage and value to employers.

A. Margot Blair, Author, Educator, and Strategic Advisor, AMB Consulting & Co.

Take Higher Responsibilities and Set Boundaries

If you want to step into a higher role, you need to show that you're capable of doing the work the role demands. To a small extent, seek out and take on the responsibilities that the higher role entails, even if that means you need to go out and educate yourself through learning programs.

Now, this comes with a caveat. Don't allow people to take advantage of your willingness to stretch yourself and turn into a yes man. You'll have to set up clear boundaries about what you are and are not willing to do so you don't become the person that everyone dumps extra work on.

Daniel Ndukwu, CMO and Co-founder, DoxFlowy

Practice Risk-Taking as a Habit

Jim Rohn, a former American entrepreneur, has a quote that really resonates with me; it goes: "I'll tell you how risky life is, you are not going to get out alive." This goes to say that risk is part of life; so many things in life are risky: marriage, business, having children, etc.

That is why I believe that the habit of taking risks is imperative for young professionals who want to accelerate their success. Want to start a business? Go for it. Want to freelance for a year and see what happens? Go for it. Want to quit that job that you hate and follow your passion? Go for it. When you are young and have fewer responsibilities, this is what you are supposed to do. You can always go and get a boring office job later.

Nicolas Montauban, Growth Strategist, Codific


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