Creating the Map: Laying Out Your Five-Year Career Plan

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Very few professionals take the time to actually plan their careers, even while knowing how much time a person usually spends as part of the workforce. Failing to take the time to map out your career means you are not taking advantage of a fundamental tool that can help you advance your career strategically.

While creating a five-year plan may sound cumbersome, the process can help you identify your core objectives and create a realistic outline for attaining them. Additionally, it serves as a framework for monitoring your progress and noticing opportunities that can help make your goals a reality.

If you aren’t sure how to lay out a five-year plan, here are the steps you need to take.

Develop Your Long-Term Goal

First and foremost, set a target. For a five-year plan, this involves defining where you would like to be in five years. Consider what you hope to achieve in that time or identify a role you wish to have by the end of that period. This will serve as the basis for your plan, giving you a clear objective.

Identify the Milestones

Once you know where the target lies, you can outline the steps you will need to take to get there. At times, it is easier to work backward. Start with your five-year goal and figure out what needs to happen to achieve it. Then, work backward until you reach where you are today.

Each step serves as a milestone on your career journey. They let you know what you need to accomplish to make your goal a reality. When you add objectives, don’t just focus on job titles (even though those can be included). Instead, consider everything from skill set improvements to experiences that may increase your odds of success.

Factor in Learning

Usually, at least a few of the milestones make acquiring additional skills a necessity. Review the steps and see what skills or experiences you need to obtain to reach your goal. Then, use those details to create learning objectives.

Enhancing your skill set is a must if you want to experience career progression. Review each one you need to acquire and determine options for learning the required skill. For example, you may need to include formal education or training in your plan. In some cases, cross-training or mentorship programs through your employer may be sufficient.

Once you understand which learning approaches are viable, you’ll know more about the steps you need to take to reach your goal.

Reevaluate Often

Review your plan at least quarterly, noting any progress you’ve made or adjusting the steps if you acquire new information.

Additionally, give yourself the opportunity to revise the plan. Your long-term goals may change with time, so reviewing your plan regularly allows you to revisit and revamp it when the need arises.

Bonus Tip: Call VincentBenjamin!

By following the steps above, you can create an effective and comprehensive five-year plan. If you’d like to find out more, the team at VB can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our career planning expertise can benefit you.

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