Where do you see yourself in five years?
This interview question is not designed to test your psychic powers; there’s a reason interviewers always ask this question.
Despite the fact that we spend the majority of our time at work, very few of us properly plan out our next 5 years in the workplace. Considering the modern volatile work environment, a lack of vision and career planning is a recipe for mediocrity, or worse, a recipe for failure.
Why? What is the point of a plan? A plan will help you to define your objectives, highlight your interests, create opportunities, and discover what you truly value out of your job (or potential job).
It isn’t complicated. All you ought to do is follow these 5 easy steps to lay out your 5 year career plan:
Step 1: Define your end goal
What do you hope to achieve in 5 years? That is your end goal. If nothing pops into your head right away, give yourself some time to think. This is a goal that should be ambitious, something that will drive you for the next 5 years. It doesn’t need to be a near-impossible goal, something achievable, something just outside your reach. This goal will give you a broad idea of what to expect in your current career direction.
Step 2: Break your end goal into smaller goals
Break up your end goal into smaller, more manageable goals. Every goal is possible if you break it up. Set realistic timelines for each sub-goal and have your friends and coworkers constantly remind you to keep up with your own set expectations. Over the course of the next 5 years, these goals will stack up, moving you closer and closer to your end goal until you have finally achieved your end goal.
Step 3: Evaluate and assess your skills
It is likely that your end goal requires skills that you do not currently possess. If that is the case, then working on achieving those skills will be another step in your 5 year career plan. Work on your weak areas, and improve your strengths. Be honest and strict with yourself; do not slack on your career planning simply because you lack the skills at the moment!
Step 4: Track your successes and failures
Along the way you will both complete goals and miss deadlines; it is important to track successes as well as failures. Failing will allow you to reevaluate your plan and get a better understanding of what went wrong (and what went right). By tracking, you might realise early on that some goals are too ambitious, or maybe not ambitious enough. Learn from your mistakes, pick a new path, and keep on going.
Step 5: Stay committed
Regardless of what happens, you must stay committed to a plan. You can readjust your plan, or even create a new plan, but don’t give up on your plan. Have your friends and colleagues keep you accountable. Keep your plan challenging, interesting, and achievable. Your career plan is a road map to career success, whether it is a promotion, a better position, or and entirely new job; so don’t give up on it if things don’t always go your way.
The goals that you achieve will help you stand out among colleagues who aren’t interested in career growth.
Define your own direction.