It's no longer enough just to start work and expect everything to fall in place and be running a FTSE 100 company within 20 years. Find out how to create a plan that ensures you achieve your career goals and structure things the right way for you.
There’s no doubt that we are all experiencing a very difficult financial climate in recent years - many people are now finding themselves facing unemployment, or at the very least, a very uncertain working future. To this end, a growing number of people are opting to create a five year career plan to help them understand where they would like to be work-wise in the future.
By creating a five year career plan, you can document the progress that you have already made in your chosen career and establish where you are likely to be heading in the future. If you then realise that you would like to achieve more in your career, you can implement changes to ensure that you hit any targets that you set for yourself.
The first step to creating a five year career plan is to think about a realistic and achievable end goal i.e. where do you want to be in five years? This can be a brilliant starting point and can help you to gain focus on your career. When you are setting your end goal, make sure that you do not choose a job or sector purely based on its associated salary – although salaries in the sector may be high now, demand often changes over time, so research any past changes in the sector and try to find out as much as you can about the likelihood of jobs still being in demand in the sector in 5 years time.
The next step to creating an effective five year career plan is to choose a mentor. A mentor is generally an individual who has already achieved success in the career path that you wish to embark on i.e. they have already ‘hit’ your eventual career end goal. Ideally a mentor should be someone who can give you sound career advice and answer any questions that you may have throughout your five year career plan – a mentor can be a colleague, manager or even a friend or family member. Make sure that you choose your mentor carefully as they may provide valuable insight to help you while you are on your five year career plan journey.
Next you will need to think carefully about the skills and abilities that you will need to obtain to fulfil your five year career plan. Assess your currently work experience, past education and any specific skills or knowledge that you already have and identify any gaps that you will need to fill in order to meet your end goal. Actively list any opportunities that you can take to either practice upon or improve the skills or knowledge that you have identified i.e. could you take a evening or part time course to learn new skills or maybe you could take on different types of work at your current employment in order to learn new things? If necessary, ask for input from your mentor to find out how they achieved their goals or ask other professionals in your sector for feedback on the skills that they find to be valuable in their line of work.
Finally, you will need to identify any jobs or positions that you would like to progress into within your chosen sector. If you feel that you already have the skills and knowledge required to make the next step, apply for them. Even if you are not successful at this point, an interview will give you invaluable knowledge about the position(s) and experience that you can use in the future to help you with your five year career plan.