How to make a five year career plan

Where do you want to be in five years’ time? If you’ve never thought about your career goals, you’re not alone. Research has found that two in five British workers don’t plan ahead concerning their career goals and one in four have no long-term career plan at all.

Planning for the next five years of your career might sound daunting, but it can be easier than you think. We have put together an easy to follow guide to making a five year career plan.

1.Clarify your career objectives

Your first step when making a career plan should be to assess your work life and establish exactly what you want to achieve. Think about exactly where you would like to be in five years’ time.

Sit down and make a list of the things you are good at and what you enjoy. What parts of your work give you the most satisfaction, and which parts are you most enthusiastic about? If you’re looking to move forwards in your career, it is important that you find an interesting role that you will enjoy.

2. Identify the skills you have

What training do you need to reach your goals? You will have to be honest with yourself about your current skill levels and what you will need to learn to progress.

Think about the skills, abilities and experience you currently have and assess whether or not they are enough to achieve your career goals. For example, if you want to be a graphic designer but there are certain pieces of software you can’t use, you will need extra training if you are to achieve your five-year goals.

You’ll also need to plan how you will gain the knowledge and skills that you need. Do you have to take an evening class? Perhaps you can volunteer to gain experience? Or maybe you simply need to read around the subject?

When writing your plan, be prepared to incorporate the education and training, you will need to achieve your goals.

3. Break down your project into achievable goals

Once you have established your five-year goal and what skills development you need to get there, you can begin to write your plan.

When you look at your Year 5 goals, they may seem out of your reach. However, if you break them down into smaller, more achievable steps, it will help you to see how much progress you have made, in turn maintaining your motivation.

4. Look for opportunities

Now your plan is in place; it is time to begin looking for opportunities to gain experience. There are usually two ways of doing this:

• Look for fresh opportunities in your current role – speak to your line manager about the skills you want to develop and search for ways in which you can gain specific and relevant experience.

• Look for opportunities elsewhere – if you aren’t getting the support you need, or opportunities are not being made available to you, it may be time to look for options in another organisation.

5. Review your plan

In order to achieve any goal, it is important to review the progress you have made regularly.

Sit down every few months to make sure that you are staying on track to achieve both your smaller objectives and your five-year goal. This may mean that you make adjustments to your plan as your career takes you in unexpected directions.

If you are not making the progress that you want, try and work out why. Ask your friends or colleagues for feedback, and arrange a meeting with your line manager to establish what you can do to keep on track.

For more information to help you with your 5 year career plan, check out “How to make a career development plan” and “Inspiring books that will help you improve your career“.