How to Get Noticed at Work in Your 20s

8 Jan


I once had a boss tell me that had she known I was 20 years old when she hired me, I would have never gotten the job.

Nice lady.

But if you know me and/or if you’ve read my writing, you know that I’m a huge proponent of the fact that age has zero to do with success and potential.

I’m sure that there are plenty of really really uber-smart 16 year olds who can do my job better than I can.  So age, therefore, should have nothing to do with the hiring process.

Despite my strong opinion on this subject, let’s face it… ageism exists. People who are older have to deal with it and those of us fresh out of college have to deal with it too.

It’s not fun.

Some people don’t think we’re capable of much. Some people really underestimate our ability.

So here are some things that we can do in our twenties to prove all those haters wrong. Because if you’re doing the right things in the workplace, you’re going to get noticed.

But you’re going to get noticed as the amazing and capable employee, not as the little twenty year old fresh out of college.

1. Keep Your Word

Did you just say you were going to do something? Awesome! Now do it. There’s nothing more frustrating to a boss than an employee who says they’ll take care of something and then doesn’t. Be mindful of the commitments you make and have excellent follow-through. Your boss will be much more likely to continue giving you great assignments if they believe that you’ll really get it done.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For More Work

People -especially us in our twenties- tend to avoid voicing our work needs because we’re afraid that our bosses will think we’re annoying. Regardless of how busy your boss is, real leaders will take the time to listen to you. If you feel that you’re not being challenged, let it be known. If you want more work and more assignments, say it. That’s the only way you’re going to be given more opportunities. Don’t be afraid to be known as the employee who’s hungry for growth opportunities.

3. For The Love of God, Avoid Gossiping At All Costs

Having worked in a big-girl-real-life job for about 4 years now, it’s beyond sad to me how some “grown-ups” behave at work. I mean, it’s really worse than high school- or at least, high school all over again. If you want to get noticed at work as that all-star employee, avoid the gossiping at all costs. Keep yourself put together and avoid any kind of negative behavior that your co-workers are participating in. People twice your age will act like kids- you don’t need to be one of them. You’re a professional, so act like it.

4. Read Up On Your Industry

Read books. Read magazines. Read journal articles. Read at home. Read before bed. Read during your lunch break. You should be known as an expert in your field, and the only way to do that is to be constantly learning. Things change quickly, and if you stay on top of current industry happenings, you’ll be the perfect person to turn to when your boss needs to know what’s up.

5. Be Willing To Do The Work No One Wants To Do

I get it… no one wants to be the guy who takes out the trash on Friday… no one wants to be the guy who works with that difficult client… That new project that seems impossible? No one wants it.

Not a single soul.

And that’s exactly why YOU SHOULD DO IT.

Put a nice big smile on your face and get those things done, becuase if you say yes to those awful tasks, better opportunities and more responsibility will be given to you.

Your boss needs to know that you’re a team player. She needs to know that you can do the annoying stuff before she can fully depend on you to tackle the stuff you’d really love to do.

So hopefully that helps a little! Anything else you can think of?

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33 Responses to “How to Get Noticed at Work in Your 20s”

  1. teenrants January 8, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    This is so helpful!

    • Kayla Cruz January 8, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

      Glad you found it helpful! We need all the advice we can get lol. Have a great day!

      • teenrants January 8, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

        That’s so true! Thanks, you too!

  2. L January 8, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    Reblogged this on Not So Skinny Genes and commented:
    Some sound advice 🙂

  3. libertyonless January 8, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    I love these tips! I’m the youngest in my office but I’ve been told time and again that my eagerness and work ethic have set me apart from older new hires. Never think you’re above a project!

  4. Beauty & The Beat January 8, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    Ageism can be a big deal! Luckily my current company values putting the best people in leadership positions regardless of age!

  5. Kaitlyn January 8, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

    I’m just loving your posts. I can relate to this on so many levels. I just graduated college and am currently in the job search phase. I only just made 21, but I have tons of experience and know that I’m great at what I do. Probably better than most of the people already hired at the places I’m applying.
    Just followed your blog. Check mine out if you like.

  6. Louise Broadbent January 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    Great post. I’m lucky in that I’m in a very young team so it’s less of a problem for me in terms of how my team (and manager – he’s only 31) see me. Sometimes I still feel like a kid pretending to be an adult, though! And I think some colleagues in other teams saw me that way to an extent – more in the beginning, though, this got better as I ‘proved myself’! I would say, though, the ‘don’t be afraid to ask for more work’ threw me! More work? There are people who aren’t doing three people’s jobs in one person’s hours? I thought in these days of cut-backs everyone was! And it seems like a beginner’s move to ask for more – why not take the initiative and get on with more? If you’re not sure you should – run it past your manager first but suggest it rather than ask them to suggest something – that’s the difference between being a volunteer/intern and permanent employee! Look for what needs doing, point this out and say you have time to do it. I’d also say don’t be afraid to speak your mind or stand up for yourself – through the proper channels, though, and don’t overreact for the sake of it.


  7. Ashliegh January 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    I love this advice! I can’t wait to find my first job as a post-grad!

  8. Jess Herbine January 8, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

    Perfect advise is perfect. 🙂

    I would also add making saying “hello” and “goodnight” to all of your colleagues (or at least, those in your immediate area) a priority! It makes you that much more personable and gives those you might not collaborate with very often the impression that you are approachable, should they ever have the opportunity to delegate a responsibility to you!

    On that note, becoming friendly with others in the office is important, too. After all, in the business world it’s who you know, and who you like! You could be the greatest 20-something employee in the world, but if you don’t have any friends or close coworkers, it’s likely you won’t get any recommendations, either. Just be sure to keep it professional, as you said!

  9. Talesfrom1lhell January 8, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    Great advice! Thank you!

  10. Dale Shafer January 8, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    Great post, Kayla – and something that is not said often enough. Age and seniority no longer mean anything. If you want to stay in the game, you have be on top of the game. It starts early – keep building it!

  11. Sean Breslin January 8, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

    Great points. I also think it’s important to stay upbeat as often as you can, because we’re stereotyped as the kid with the bad attitude from the second we walk in the door. That’s what some older folks assume about millenials, so working your tail off and staying optimistic is huge!

  12. The Passion Hunt January 11, 2014 at 12:21 am #

    Yes, I agree with this so much!! I love surprising people when I see how they react when I walk in and see I’m young and then how they react after I deliver a presentation or some work. I think… THERE! Age means nothing!!!! I love showing them. (But I don’t ever mention it… Humble all the way. I know you can relate to what I mean!)

  13. Matter Of Fact Its all about "People" January 12, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

    Reblogged this on .

  14. Aimee January 13, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

    Reblogged this on 20 Something Confessions and commented:
    Can’t stand being the baby at work? Here’s a handy guide on how to gain respect and be noticed at work in your 20’s.

  15. ivonprefontaine January 14, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    Reblogged this on Teacher as Transformer and commented:
    When I read this post, I was struck by the soundness of advice for all ages. If everyone tried following these rules, it might make communities and workplaces much better and healthier places. The word health and heal share a common root with the word whole. We can heal and make whole our communities when we follow the Golden Rule which is essentially what this is.

  16. redlippedladyofrohan January 14, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

    Congratulations, you’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award! Details can be found here:

  17. MeredithMorckel January 16, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    #3, avoid gossip, is so crucial. And you have to identify what’s gossip and what’s constructive conversation. They can be so similar!

  18. Samantha Brown January 16, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    Great post filled with lots of good advice! I’ve just stumbled upon your blog and I’m so glad I did – I’ll be checking back here regularly!

    Sam xx

  19. fencingwithink January 20, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    Hmm, some good stuff. I’ve seen dozens of people our age and older who see work as a place to do…well, anything but work. Lounge, gossip, kill time, whatever. Good to see such good advice from a twentysomething.

  20. mrsbartons January 26, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    Ageism does exist. I was basically told that I was too young to be applying for the job I was going for a few years ago…..but finally got the job against all odds! Age should not be a part of the equation, experience and expertise should be! Thank you for this post.

  21. bafriyie January 27, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    I’ll keep that in mind when I enter the workforce in a couple of years.

  22. Unsure "Adult" January 27, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

    Reblogged this on Boo's & Ooo's and commented:
    As a 20 something year old, this is encouraging.

    I have been debating, for the last 2 years, what field o wanted to go into, etc. When I was 17 years old, I almost made night manager but, the owner and I had different views on how things should go and I quit.

    Some days, I kick myself and others, well–others I am proud of myself for standing up for myself. So, while I am a 20 something year old and a mother to 3 boys, I was a single mom for 2 years and have he’d a jib since I was 13. I don’t know how not to work.

    Currently, I babysit. But, when you feel like you need to bring in more than a babysitter makes (face it, we make less than minimum wage most of the time), this gives me hope. Helps give me a little kick in the rump to possible look into opening my own business. Couponing, crafts, a daycare–do the job that no one wants to, such as 24/7 daycare, a spot for sick kids, etc.

    Now, to brainstorm what I should do.

  23. angelamalagon February 5, 2014 at 8:40 am #

    Reblogged this on Angela Malagon.

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    This should definitely not be taken for granted when writing your resume.
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