The Skills You Should Learn Before Age 30 (And How to Learn Them)

July 27, 2017

These are the universal skills everyone should learn in their twenties that are necessary to building a long career.

The first few years of your career, you’re graded on a bit of a curve.

It’s generally why you make less when you’re young and have less influence within an organization. Because, when you are 23-years-old, there’s just a lot of skills you haven’t mastered yet.

But that should change by age 30. Which is why by age 30 (and probably even a few years before), that curve goes away. By then, the expectation is you’ve mastered some universal skills needed to build a lasting career.

What are those skills? Well, to find out, we turned to Quora and looked at the most popular answers to this very question. So here are the skills everyone should learn by age 30, according to the collective wisdom of the Internet:

1. Accepting responsibility

When you are young, blame feels like an arrow that should be avoided at all costs. So you come up with lame excuses and “omit” certain details in an effort to look better.

That act gets tired after awhile. By age 30, you should willingly accept responsibility and be honest when you make a mistake, according to Quora user Michael Hoffman.

LinkedIn Learning course that teaches that skill: Achieving Your Goals

2. Personal finance

It’s exciting to get your first paycheck – you want to spend it on something you’ve been dreaming of. And car insurance and mortgages and IRAs can all be complex and confusing, to the point you just want to ignore them.

But, by age 30, you should have a grip on your personal finances, Quora user Carolyn Cho said. This will help your career, as it’ll decrease your stress level and ensure you stay in control.

LinkedIn Learning course that teaches that skill: Personal Finance Tips Weekly

3. Receiving constructive criticism

Hearing criticism is no fun. Our natural reaction is to deflect it or attack the other person.

But, to really improve as a professional, you need to embrace constructive criticism as a means to improving yourself, Quora user Abhinav Gupta wrote.

LinkedIn Learning course that teaches that skill: Interpersonal Communication

4. Starting and carrying on a conversation with someone new

Meeting someone new can be nerve-wracking. But the reality is relationships are an essential part of business and forming new relationships will directly affect the trajectory of your career.

By age 30, you should be able to overcome your shyness and strike up a conversation with someone new, Quora user Deepak Mehta said.

LinkedIn Learning course that teaches that skill: Professional Networking

5. Keeping your commitments

Woody Allen once said that 80 percent of success in life is just showing up. There’s a lot of truth to that: by being reliable and always hitting your deadlines, you build trust.

And trust is necessary for getting a promotion or running a successful business, Hoffman wrote.

LinkedIn Learning course that teaches that skill: Building Trust

6. Resilience

One thing you’ll realize early in your career: not everything goes as planned. There are layoffs, bad bosses, bad breaks – all of which you’ll have to deal with.

When you’re young, it’s hard to deal with these challenges. But, over time you should learn how to handle these setbacks, and refuse to let them define you, Cho said.

LinkedIn Learning course that teaches that skill: Building Resilience

7. Email protocol

Email is the main way people communicate in business today. Hence, writing clear, concise emails is key to communicating effectively, and effective communication is essential for keeping projects on track and being efficient.

Conversely, making email faux pas like unnecessarily relying-all or writing scathing emails is inefficient and hurts your reputation. Writing strong emails is a skill you should learn early that’ll help you the rest of your life, one anonymous Quora member wrote.

LinkedIn Learning course that teaches that skill: Writing Email

8. Remaining calm and professional

There’s no bigger sign of immaturity than losing control of your emotions. Getting angry or losing your patience might feel good in the moment, but it causes others to lose trust in you and creates a toxic work environment.

By age 30, you should be in control of your emotions and remain professional during stressful times, Quora user Abbas Rizvi said.

LinkedIn Learning course that teaches that skill: Managing Stress

The takeaway

Spoiler alert: a lot of people don’t learn all of these skills by age 30. Don’t feel bad if you are in the group (I certainly am); it’s not too late to learn.

The bigger point is that maturity happens over time but it doesn’t happen on its own. Only by mindfully working to improve yourself will you actually improve and become the best version of yourself.

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