The 13 Best Pieces of Career Advice for Young Women

Follow these tips to snag your dream job. The staff at Cosmopolitan shared the No. 1 piece of advice they'd give to young women starting their careers.

By the Editors

1. "Don't be too sensitive or precious about your work. Learn to see criticism, comments and notes from your bosses as ways to grow and understand your field better. Even if something stings, move on from it tomorrow and come to work with a smile on your face.Having a thicker skin is for the best: No one has time to hold your hand and give you a cookie over every assignment that comes your way." - Michelle Ruiz, Senior Editor

2. "Don't be a dick. But be assertive and make the connections you feel you need to make, and don't be afraid to reach out to people who have careers you idolize - I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now if I had not sent one panicked email when I was 22 to three thirtysomething women who were killing it in the NYC journalism/blogging industry. But don't push so hard that you forget to have fun with your job - when it's something like writing, it's so obvious when you're phoning it in or worrying too much, and that's not fun for readers." - Anna Breslaw, Sex and Relationships Writer, Online

3. "Don't fall prey to imposter syndrome. You were hired for your job because your boss thought you were smart and capable. You're not just fooling everyone. It's not just a matter of time before you're found out. It's normal to feel occasional self-doubts, but you have to also remind yourself that you do know what you're doing, and if something goes beyond what you've done in the past, that's OK too. Be confident in yourself." - Lori Fradkin, Executive Features Editor, Online

4. "A bad work environment is, in many ways, a self-fulfilling prophesy, so if a co-worker starts complaining about someone or something going on at work, politely change the topic or excuse yourself. Don't even allow yourself to listen long enough to know if you agree with what he or she is saying. It doesn't matter. You've got work to do, and the less time you spend complaining, the faster you'll get it done and the happier you'll be."- Charles Manning, Style Editor, Online

5. "It's tempting to go where the money is early in your career, but focus on finding a job you find satisfying. You can accomplish so much more when you enjoy what you do, and if you're passionate about your job, the success and money will follow. It's difficult, if not impossible, to shoehorn your happiness into an unfulfilling career after the fact. Don't be afraid to try and fail at things that are really important to you. I know that's easier said than done, but I was able to get over that fear when I realized it was more satisfying to fail at something I loved than succeed at something I was ambivalent about. Try everything that interests you even if it doesn't feel like the safe decision." - Frank Kobola, Sex and Relationships Writer, Online

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6. "No job/task you're asked to do is too small. Whether you're grabbing coffee for your boss or opening his or her mail, you're helping that person, so that he or she can get something else done - which, in turn, is contributing to the bigger picture. So don't complain if someone asks you to do something you might not want to. Plus, like Santa, your boss is always taking notes on your behavior, so always act appropriately and professional (aka don't complain). Also, always ask. If you don't ask, you don't get. If you want a raise, promotion, to be put on a project, sometimes you have to put yourself out there and not be afraid. Your superior isn't just going to come to you and tell you they want to give you more money or give you an assignment - you have to be hungry, eager and a go-getter to get ahead." - Carly Cardellino, Beauty Editor, Online

7. "When you apply for a job, include your cover letter in the body of the email. That old rule about attaching the cover letter dates back to the days when people were printing stuff out and filing it, but now it's annoying to open attachments! Don't run the risk that someone won't bother to open it. Just impress them right away!" - Elisa Benson, Senior Community Manager, Online

8. "Don't give up. If you don't hear back from someone, follow up. If you don't get a job, ask why not and keep applying. Do whatever you have to (within reason and normalcy) to make something happen. I applied to work at nymag.com three times and got it the third time because I took a break and spent six months commenting on everything on the site under my name, so they'd know I was smart, funny, and informed." - Alexandra Martell, Managing Editor, Online

9. "If I could give any career advice (at the ripe old age of 22), it would be to actually do your pre-interview research. I'd had it drilled into my head before graduating that this was one of the most important parts of interviewing and networking. Skimming a website or quickly Wiki-ing a company five minutes before an interview is not helpful. At four of the eight interviews I had before getting this wonderful job, I was grilled by my potential employer on how I felt about very specific programs/aspects/histories of the company. Also, ALWAYS HAVE QUESTIONS!" - Tess Koman, Editorial Assistant, Online

Related: Do You Need to be Working So Hard?

10. "The only type of advice I ever received was more or less that I should change my major in college and hope for another career because I could never have one as a photographer, especially in publishing. I was told this by a lot of people. I also didn't go to a fancy school and didn't do any internships until after college (all of my classes each semester were pretty much each five-hour studio classes). I didn't listen to anyone's non-advice, and that would be my advice. Go with your gut, make it happen and get what you want because you can do it if you work for it." - Kathleen Kamphausen, Digital Photo Editor

11. "When I first moved to New York I met with Wendy Naugle, who's the executive editor of Glamour and a Drake alum (which is how I got the meeting in the first place). She told me three things that really stuck with me: (1) If you're the type of person who will move to New York without a job or a place to live, you're the type of person who will be successful in New York. Whenever I doubt myself or feel overwhelmed, that always comforts me. (2) Copy your bosses. Copy their reading habits and their time management habits and … everything. Within reason. (3) Become the expert at something. This is especially good if you work in media, but I think it works anywhere. Her example was that when she was starting out she was an assistant who didn't write at all but she wanted to write about health, so she subscribed to all the big medical journals and was on top of health news. She eventually became her boss's go-to for health news and started blogging about it." - Emma Barker, Sex and Relationships Editor, Online

12. "Ask questions and don't think you're being annoying by doing so. If you come across an assignment that you're unclear about, ask questions to be 100 percent sure that you're completing things in the proper manner. It will save you from potentially making a mistake, and your boss would much rather you be upfront about your confusion than complete something wrong and having to go back and redo it." - Courtney Connley, Editorial Production Assistant, Online

13. "Don't act entitled. Entitled people start at a job and think they're above doing menial things that need to get done in order for an organization's wheels to spin. You should never go into a job with this attitude, and you should never be above doing any task. Even when you're running your own company and ruling the world, if you need to make copies or send faxes or balance a budget or do anything else that is technically 'not part of your job,' you should always be willing to do it. Successful people roll up their sleeves and do the grunt work after everyone else goes home. If you start at a job or an internship with the attitude that you're too talented to do the grunt work and should be doing what your bosses are doing, it will show and your superiors won't like you. A good attitude and a desire to please and earn next-level opportunities goes a long way." - Amy Odell, Editor, Online

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