How to make your own 5-year career plan - This is the Life! - Build the Life of Your Dreams

How to make your own 5-year career plan

March 30, 2021

Writing down your goals

Recently, I talked about how you can find out what is the right career for you.

After you've got that figured out, it's a really good idea to have a 5-year career plan. 

If you've started working or you have been working for a while and are feeling like you need some sense of direction, a 5 year plan might be very helpful to decide what you should work towards.

It also helps that you'll have an answer for those dreaded questions about career goals or about where you see yourself in the future.

What Is A 5-Year Career Plan?

As the name might have tipped you off, it's a plan with the steps you're going to take in your career path during the next five years. 

If you have a career goal, then your five-year plan should be a list of the stepping stones that will lead you to achieve your career goal.

If your goal is most likely unattainable in just five years, your plan can be centered on how you're going to advance towards your goal in that period of time.

Why Is A 5-Year Plan Important?

When you start working, it's easy to fall in the daily routine and start getting comfortable in it but it's important to stay ambitious and create goals for yourself and make a plan on how to achieve them.

If the reverse happens and you're feeling purposeless and like you're falling into the daily grind, then a five-year career plan will give you a sense of direction and confidence because you know that your situation is just a stepping stone which will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed or stuck in your job and looking for a way out.

It's also easier to feel like you're advancing in your career and your life if you actually set those goals for yourself  and cross them off your list as you achieve them.

Besides all that, it helps that it makes it easier for you to answer questions by recruiters or even your managers about where you see yourself in the future or what you're aiming for. 

You will present yourself as a go-getter and someone who knows what they want and they will know how to guide you or what you want to get out of your job.

How Can You Make Your Own 5-Year Plan?

If you already know what career path to take or you're already on it, the first thing you need to figure out to make your own 5 year plan is what job position in your career would make you feel happy and successful.

From there, you just need to figure out how to achieve that!

Maybe your dream job is unattainable in 5 years but that's fine - your 5 year plan could be about how you can advance towards it in these next 5 years of your working life. 

Think about what would make you happy to achieve in the next 5 years.

To make your own plan, you should:

1. Define Your Career Goal or Dream Job

To define the path, you need to know what the endgame is. 

If you're not completely sure of your dream job yet, then you can fill out the general direction. If that's the case, just fill out the career path you like. Even if it seems hard to reach, at least you know the direction you want to go in.

Only then you can figure out what you might need to do or learn to get there and define what your strategy is going to be.

2. Think About or Research How You Can Achieve Your Dream

Look at people that have your dream job or have the career lifestyle you want in your area of work. 

What's their background? How did they get to that position?

If you can, look at their CVs and learn about them and about the kind of education they had, as well as the courses they took. 

What skills do they possess that helped them get ahead? 

How did they get hired for that position? 

Find out how they network - are they a member of any association or group? Are they active on any platform?

3. Create Your Strategy

Next, you need to make the actual plan. 

First, you need to figure out how you're going to fill any gaps that you may have in comparison to those people.

Do you need to learn any skills? Or maybe you need to take a course and get a certificate of knowledge in a certain area. Whatever it might be, write it down.

Then, you're going to have to find out how you can learn the skill you require - do you need to take classes? Can you learn it from experience? 

If what you need is more education on a certain subject, search where you can take a course, or if you can sign up for a seminar or a workshop. 

Think about how long it will take to finish or participate so you can mark that time on your 5-year plan. If you need to save up to pay for it, you should also consider that in your plan.

After that, you need to work out your strategy to start getting professionally involved with your desired subject or how you can make yourself get noticed as being on the path towards your dream job.

Consider networking or even writing articles and publishing them on LinkedIn. This will help you stand out and show your expertise.

4. Write Down Your Plan and Start ASAP

Once you've determined what job you are working for and how you're going to get there, all you need to do is write down your 5-year career plan.

Define the actions you're going to take and how much time each of them is going to take to get done so that you can keep yourself accountable and always have a path to follow and your goals are clear.

Then, just start. Even the smallest step gets you closer to your goals!

Make sure to keep your plan somewhere where you can see it often and remind yourself of what you're striving for - this will keep you focused and on track.

Celebrate your achievements and talk about them. Share them with people in your professional circle or post them on LinkedIn. Update your CV whenever you get a valuable experience or new skills or education.

Need some help putting your 5-year plan into writing? 

You can use my free template:

Free template of a five year career plan

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