Professional skills you need to pick up to survive your 20s


The transitional phase from irresponsible, fun-loving teenager to a full-fledged independent adult takes up most of our 20s. Sometimes it can be tedious and enraging, but if you know how to go about being an actual professional, then it can be the learning process of a lifetime.

Image : shutterstock

There are certain skills that you absolutely need to master if you want to get ahead in your professional life, regardless of your chosen field. Here are some of them:


One of the most important skills one needs to learn in order to get ahead of the rest of the pack is taking the lead. As a working professional, your ability to inspire and guide your peers towards organisational goals is something that will get you noticed.

There are different types of leaders, and leadership cannot be simply boiled down to the act of taking charge. It takes several other skills like management, planning, quick decision making, and mental fortitude to be a good leader.


One of the most important skills to pick up in the nascent stages of your career is responsibility. The ability to do exactly what you say you’re going to do, and take the fall if it doesn’t work out, is an innate quality in all good professionals.

Responsibility is something that should go hand-in-hand with leadership and initiative and is what separates the top dogs from the shrug-offs. It’s probably the most basic and important skill you need to perfect if you want to be successful, not just professionally, but in life in general.


There is no scope for procrastination, excuses, and general laziness if you want to fulfill your professional ambitions. Time is a valuable thing, and it can slip by without us even realising it.

Discipline is essentially about time management – knowing what to do, when to do it, and making sure that you follow up. Planning, scheduling, and execution are all important when it comes to meeting your work deadlines.

There are several steps one needs to take to become a disciplined individual, but once you see how productive you get, you’ll realise what a difference it makes to your life.


One of the biggest changes that happen once you start climbing the professional ladder is the way you communicate with people. In college and university, informal communication is usually the norm in almost all social interactions, but things become very different once you start working.

This is not an environment where you’re just floundering about with friends, but a work atmosphere where communication is an essential tool needed to get things done. You must learn how to speak in a crisp, clear, authoritative, yet respectful, manner, as well as learn how to ensure top notch non-verbal communication.

Mastering Microsoft Office

We’ve spoken a lot about interpersonal skills being some of the most important lessons you’ll learn in your 20s. However, there is one particular technical skill that will help you enormously in the course of your career.

Microsoft Office is the most popular office suite used in the corporate world by far. You need to learn how to be adept at MS Office, MS Word, and MS PowerPoint because these are the tools you’ll use to convey information to your corporate superiors, customers, and clients.

The skills we’ve mentioned don’t apply to any particular profession. These will all be immensely useful regardless of whether you’re in an IT Firm, a PR agency, or a publishing house. They will help boost your productivity and achieve personal goals in whichever field of your choosing.

These are skills you absolutely need to master if you want to climb the career ladder at a brisk pace. Most of them even transcend your professional life and will help you lead a more fulfilling life outside of work, with the possible exception of MS Office.


Updates from around the world