5 Reasons to Build a Career Plan
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’m willing to wager that you’ve been asked this cliche of an interview question before. While the answer sure isn’t going to be “probably at another company that pays more”, common answers to this questions usually highlight career advancement and personal growth aspirations.
We’re so busy focusing on what’s happening right now, can we seriously bother to consider what life would be like that far down the road?
There are many practical benefits to creating a 5 year plan, such as confidence, clarity, and a sense of purpose - but most of all this allows you to prioritize your time on valuable experience.
If your goal is to apply for an executive sales position, it’s probably not a valuable use of your time to take on coding projects, right?
Reverse the question and ask, are you currently where you saw yourself 5 years ago?
Here are 5 reasons to build a career plan
Without knowing which title your targeting, how can you know if you fulfill the job requirements?
Although you aren’t ready to apply for this position right now, it’s important to understand what's expected of someone in this role. In 5 years time, you want to apply for this position and fulfill at least 60% of the listed requirements. What are you missing and how can you work towards that?
Sure, you might have someone that you look up to and aspire to be more like, but can you tell me what their career path was? How did they get to where they are today?
Get on LinkedIn and find 5 professionals with that specific title. Look through their career journey to find out what they focused their time on. Did they hold the role that you have now? Where did they go from there? Send them a message and ask for advice!
Now that you clearly understand your career path, you can more effectively decide how to best utilize your time. Is there a project at work that you can get involved with that will help develop skills you’re missing? Is there another job you can apply for that will provide you with those opportunities? Is there a class you can take to fill that void?
Not getting career development opportunities with your current employer? Because of your career planning, you know what’s realistic in terms of career directory. Once you fulfill the requirements of the next step, start applying for opportunities that fit your career plan.
Remember that whenever you’re ready to take that next step in your career, you have to explain your decisions up until now. How did you use your time and how has that prepared you for this opportunity. Each story should have a clear connection to now.
Prove to the business that you planned ahead.
Keep in mind that a career plan is a moving document. You can make updates as you flow through your career journey.
Now when you’re asked this interview question, you can confidentially answer:
In my career plan, I’ve set a goal to further develop XYZ skills so that I fulfill the requirements of a Senior position. A major reason why I’m excited for this position is the opportunity to gets hands on experience in these key areas.