As a young adult ready to dive into the workforce, you may have received some well-meaning advice that forging a successful career requires substantial sacrifice in your personal life. Forget those thoughts, we’re here to tell you that it’s possible to have your cake… and eat it!
With proper self-assessment and planning, you can align your personal growth with a successful professional journey. Here are some ways you can balance both sides of this unique equation.
Test Drive Your Preferred Career
Before jumping headfirst into your chosen career, it’s probably a good idea to take up contract (or temporary) jobs or internships that are related to the profession. These experiences will introduce you to the true demands of the occupation and can help you decide if this is what you really want to do for the rest of your life.
Also, these jobs will give you relevant work experience for your resume and make you a more attractive option for future employers. As a bonus, stepping into the industry (even as a contract staff) can help you open doors to networks and contacts that could benefit your future career prospects.
Contact BGC Hong Kong to find out more about the relevant jobs you can undertake to find experience related to your dream career. Alternatively, try using BGC Hong Kong's job portal! You’ll be sure to find something.
Play Your Way to Soft Skills
An often-overlooked aspect of personal development and career progression is the development of soft skills. This is where participating in recreational activities can give you an edge.
Team sports, for example, teach players how to cooperate with others while maintaining a level of independence and accountability. These qualities are crucial in the workplace, where managing interpersonal relations with bosses, colleagues, clients, and vendors are a necessity for getting work done well.
Work (or Study) Away from Home
Venturing overseas can give you fresh experiences and introduce you to different ways of thinking –which can help to build various skill sets and develop new competencies. If you’re truly adventurous, take up a job or pick a University that gives you overseas experience, and really be pushed beyond your comfort zone.
Gaining proficiency in a foreign language and cultivating life management skills are just a few of the personal and professional skills that overseas experience can get you. With more employers in the market looking for candidates with overseas experience, this could be a huge plus in your CV.
Not only will living overseas provide you with an additional edge in your CV, but it could also provide you with a range of skills useful for your job search! You could pick up a second (or even a third) language to add to your list of skills! Plus, imagine living life away from your parents for a short bit - there’s nothing more blissful than living alone independently.
Can’t decide if you should go on that overseas job and/or study opportunity? Check out our working abroad article for some useful advice!
Learn to Charm Crowds
A key personal and professional ability to develop early in your life – whether you’re a loud extrovert or an inward-focused introvert – is your fluency with social skills. It’s important to be adept at reading people and being comfortable in various social situations, as these skills will come in handy both in and out of the office. So, break out the party shoes, turn up the charm and start filling up your social calendar!
Convert your natural charm to professional gain through your CV! Keep the actual resume simple but try to personalize your resume according to the company or career of your choice. Another way to charm your way to a professional job is by going into the interview prepared.
We’ve rounded up some of the questions that hiring managers will ask every candidate, here. Take your time to study the questions. This combined with your natural flair for socializing will make you the perfect candidate!
Leverage on Your Hobbies
In today’s connected society, it’s easier than ever to build a career with your passion – or at least, use your passion to fuel your energy levels. So, don’t give up your hobbies just because you’re going to become “a working adult”. Be sure to devote time to your personal interests, as they can bring some much-needed refreshment to your body, mind, and soul.
What’s more, your personal interests can also help you in your work – if you apply your knowledge and skills appropriately. For example, closet theatre performers who take up drama classes could use these skills to complement client-facing occupations where liveliness, enthusiasm (and perhaps a certain amount of acting) can go a long way to accelerating their careers.
Or show off your leadership skills through your strong storytelling skills, much like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates did.
On the lookout for some great hobbies? Perhaps you can head over to your local sports hub or community center for something more vigorous. Our consultants at BGC have various hobbies from photography to Ultimate Frisbee - each providing a range of skills useful to their respective positions.
At the end of the day, it’s important to note that taking the time for personal development will have a positive impact on your professional development. So take the plunge and take up that new skill or hobby! You’ll have nothing (but time) to lose.