Career advice for young adults

To help guide young professionals through the ups and downs of career development, professionals at Intuit shared their stories and advice in partnership with the International Girls Academy.

Social media can be deceiving. 

When a friend or connection posts that they landed their dream job or career, it may appear as if it magically fell in their lap.  What you don’t see are the setbacks, pivots, and challenges that happened along the way.  

The route to a new job is seldom a straight line. and the sooner a person understands that, the better. 

In partnership with the International Girls Academy, an organization focused on empowering girls to become global change agents through education and mentorship, a group of technology professionals at Intuit shared their stories, along with some career advice for young adults. 

Here are some key takeaways for those seeking guidance during their career’s early stages. 

1. Don’t stress about your career path

The more professionals you talk to, the more you’ll see that career paths are full of changes, pivots, breaks, and surprises. What a fulfilling career means to you may change throughout different stages of your life. The good news is, no matter where you’ve been, there’s a way to get to where you want to go. 

If you want to know what it’s like to work in a specific field—marketing, tech, or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) —seek an informational interview with someone who already does that job. You can also ask to shadow someone at work so you can see what their day is like. That person may even be willing to mentor you. 

Focus on your unique skills 

Celeste Easter, a talent acquisition leader at Intuit, says she “fell into” recruiting partly because of her love of people.  

“There’s no clear roadmap,” she says. Pivoting from one position to another throughout your career is very common, especially if your company is passionate about providing internal growth and learning opportunities. 

By taking time to identify the talents and soft skills that make you unique, you can explore new careers that play to your strengths.  

At different points in her life, Nicolette Grannum wanted to be a veterinarian, teacher, and archeologist. So how did she become a mechanical engineer and later a software engineer at Intuit? 

Be firm on your goal, but flexible on your path 

Nicolette joined the Apprenticeship Pathways Program, a paid seven-month software development apprenticeship for underrepresented groups in tech. By keeping her options open and identifying what learning styles were most effective for her, Nicolette’s switch from aspiring educator to engineer is an excellent example of how one can pivot successfully in your studies and career

2. Find a company you fit with 

Finding a job that’s a good fit is essential, but finding a company that’s a good fit may be even smarter career advice for young adults. Review a company’s principles and mission and compare them against your ethics to see if your values align. 

In choosing a job, Mos’ Okediji, head of global marketing development at Intuit, recommends focusing on what kind of projects you’ll get to do. It’s important to know what the company stands for—because its ethos will guide what you’ll be working on daily. The longer you work, the more you’ll see that whom you work for makes a huge difference.  

You can discover these important factors by asking in-depth questions during your interview and researching potential employers. Don’t rely on descriptions on someone’s website. Ask the interviewer for: 

  • Examples of their values in action 
  • The company’s retention rates 
  • How they’ll measure success for this role

As an employee, you bring something unique to an organization that your current or prospective employer should appreciate. 

3. Develop your leadership skills 

Leadership skills can come from many different places. You can develop them by becoming an expert in a specific field, following your interests across diverse career roles, and even in your activities outside the workplace. 

Intuit’s Kyle Johnson, senior support product analyst at Mailchimp, says you can develop leadership skills by being active in your community, sports, church, and family—even speaking up against discrimination. 

“If you can put on paper examples where you showed empathy, compassion, listening; where you amplified someone, where you spoke up, where you rallied folks and kept them engaged; those are all leadership skills that can translate really well onto your resume,” says Kyle.  

Britney Peart, DEI coordinator at Intuit, became a leader in DEI by immersing herself in the subject at an early age. In addition to minoring in African American and diaspora studies, her experience is full of free enrichment programs focusing on leadership, public speaking, and other skills. 

“Take advantage of being a part of courses that discuss race, and equities, and social movements,” she advises. 

4. Understand it’s OK to make mistakes

The International Girls Academy panelists spoke openly about their mistakes during our visit. Their messaging reaffirms mistakes as just another part of life and precious learning experiences. Your response is more important than the mistake itself.  

Peart’s career advice for adults is to embrace the struggle and reach out for help. “It’s OK to make mistakes. You’re not going to die over it, especially when you’re 15, 16, 18 years old. That’s the time in which you’re supposed to make mistakes.”  

The value of mistakes comes from learning from them and doing better the next time. That can be reaching out to a manager for support earlier in the process or improving your time management skills.  

Never feel like you have to suffer in silence. Mistakes happen. But when you’re willing to examine the process and take feedback, you’ll learn a valuable lesson – above all else, don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t give up. 

5. Make job readiness a priority in your life 

Intuit’s education programming provides career advice for young adults. We help them develop job-ready, durable skills through entrepreneurship and personal finance education. Programs like this and organizations like the International Girls Academy are here to give young people the confidence they need to create the futures they want. 

Decide what matters to you and what kind of future you want, then chase it!