While interviewers may be moving away from the question about where you see yourself in five years, that doesn’t mean you should leave that question unanswered. Having a 5-year career plan can help keep you focused, and provides a roadmap for you to reach your goals. The best part is that creating a plan isn’t that difficult. If you haven’t decided where you would like to be in five years, here’s how to get your plan started.
Pick a Career Goal
Your first step to creating a plan is deciding where you want to be. Think of a primary goal, and use this to focus the rest of your plan. It can be reaching a certain salary, working in a particular position, or completely changing industries. The idea is to imagine what you would like your career to look like in five years, and use that to guide your decisions.
Identify Key Components
Every goal is ultimately made up of a series of smaller goals. For example, if your goal is to be a supervisor or manager within the next five years, look at the main steps that take you from where you are now to that place. You may need to further your education, learn certain skills, gain particular experiences, or embrace specific challenges. By identifying these key components, you have given your 5-year a framework from which to grow.
Create a Logical Order
To progress in your career, certain steps must be completed before others. If you need to complete a college degree to qualify for your ideal position, one of the first things you will need to do is attend college. You will need to be admitted, and arrange for the required funding. Since certain tasks must happen before others, placing each step in a logical order creates a viable plan. Each key component can be broken down into individual steps. Some steps can be completed concurrently, such as getting accepted into college and volunteering for more advanced duties at your current job. Others will be individual pursuits.
Post Your Plan
Your 5-year plan is not a secret to be stashed away in a desk drawer. Instead, put it in a place of prominence. It will serve as a daily reminder of where you want to be, and what it takes to get these. Whenever you feel off track, you can refer to the information and see what you need to tackle next. If you identify a step you missed in the original plan, you will easily be able to add it without having to dig for a piece of paper kept in a closet somewhere.
Track Your Progress
One of the most satisfying parts of having a plan is tracking your progress. Any time you make a step in the right direction, cross that task off of your list. Use any failures along the way to refine your plan. You may learn about new steps that you should take along the way. Be flexible and adaptable, and feel free to change your 5-year plan if your circumstances change.
Is a New Job Part of Your 5-Year Plan?