Action Steps for Your Five-Year Career Plan

Have you been daydreaming about a promotion or the chance to show off your skills, such as leading an important meeting with clients? Maybe you’re imagining a huge bump in salary or finally getting the big office at the end of the hall. Whatever you’re picturing, know that it’s all possible if you create a five-year plan.

If you already know where you’d like to be in five years, it’s time to develop a strategy to get there. Here are five actionable steps to accomplishing everything.

1. Do the Research

Now that you know your goals, what path do you need to take to get there? There may be classes you need to attend or certifications you need to earn. Study up so you know exactly what steps to take.

2. List Out Your Goals

If you want to accomplish all the goals you set today, you need to draw up a written timeline. List what you’d like to accomplish and, as you go along, add action items that would move you forward.

Set realistic goals in your timeline; you most likely won’t go from being an administrative assistant to the VP of sales in a year. Focus on small steps forward versus jumping way ahead. Here is an example of small steps that lead to a big achievement:

  1. Taking individual sales courses
  2. Alerting your supervisor of your interest in changing positions and asking for their support and assistance
  3. Job-shadowing with a sales representative
  4. Seeking management training once you’re in a sales position
  5. Working your way up from a supervisor to a manager to a director and, finally, an executive.

Your list may be long with many action items, but it will keep you on track to ensure you end up at your final destination.

3. Talk to the Right People

If you know you’d like to work in a specific position within the next five years, reach out to the people who are already there. Do they have any recommendations for fast-tracking your career? While you’re networking, try to find a mentor. You’ll get a peek at the behind-the-scenes of their day-to-day. What do you like and dislike about their responsibilities? While you scope things out, you’ll be forming a bond with a guide who can lead you through the journey of your five-year plan.

4. Tell People

If you don’t let people know about your goals, they won’t be able to help you meet them. If you’re a quiet worker who keeps to yourself, your manager may never know you have aspirations of becoming a supervisor yourself. Let your manager know your intentions during performance reviews and keep your colleagues tuned in so they can share support.

5. Celebrate the Small Wins

Success is defined by you. For some people, success consists of being happy and healthy. For others, it’s having a title on the door and business cards with their name on it. Know yourself and what drives you to succeed. Keep track of your work accomplishments along the way and celebrate every little victory. And, while you’re here, check out the professional training offerings on iLearn.

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