Do you aspire to be in upper management? Maybe you want to change careers and work in a field that is really your passion. Or perhaps you plan to obtain an additional degree to improve your marketability and upgrade your skill set. All of these are wonderful goals, but without a plan, you may not achieve them.
Read on for advice from a career coach on creating a five-year career plan.
Why it is important to have a career plan. Everyone knows the old adage, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. While not planning for the next five years does not necessarily mean that you will fail at your career, it may very well mean that you will drift in your career and allow other people to set your career direction instead of you doing this for yourself. Because life is so busy, it is easy to look up in five years and realize that the time flew by, and you can’t get that time back. Having a career plan gives you direction and something to work towards.
How to create a career plan. Start by thinking about where you would like to be in five years. Do you want a higher level position with more responsibility? Would you prefer to dial back your career to devote more time to outside interests? Or perhaps you want to retool and go in a different direction with your career. After you have identified what you really want in five years, then it is time to map out the steps. You need to think through carefully what it will take to achieve your goal(s). It may mean obtaining additional education, engaging in intense networking, broadening your skill set, and/or repackaging your experiences to be more appealing to potential employers. Taking the time to actually write out your end goal as well as the steps that you need to take to get there improves the likelihood that you will actually achieve your goal.
Explore your options. There may be more than one way to reach your goal. For example, in some careers you could obtain a degree as a way to enter a field, or a certificate (which will generally cost you less time and money) could accomplish the same goal. Don’t assume that there is only one path to achieve your objectives. Look at all options before you decide which direction makes the most sense for you.
Build in accountability. If you are really serious about accomplishing your five-year goal(s), an accountability partner can help keep you on track. Most people make sure that they accomplish what they need to for work, but they don’t take their careers as seriously as they do their jobs. The reason for this is that there is accountability on the job. If you don’t do your job, you run the risk of losing your job. But there aren’t immediate consequences for not taking proper care of your career. But just because there is not built in accountability for your career as there is for your job doesn’t mean that you can’t incorporate accountability into the process. Find someone, either a friend or a career coach, who you can share your goal(s) with. Then check in with that person periodically throughout the year so that you can update the person on the progress that you have made.
Review and adjust. You may encounter unexpected obstacles along the way to reaching your five-year goals. That being the case, it is a good idea to periodically review your goals to see where you are in relation to where you want to go. And you may need to make some adjustments as you go a a result of changes either in you or in your environment.
*If you are struggling to make your career goals a reality, a career coach can get you focused and keep you on track with a career plan. Call 877-743-9521 today or send an email to email@example.com.