It is important to have goals. They give you purpose and direction. It’s important to have goals for your career as well. You need to have some idea where you want to go with your career, where you would like to end up. This will help you decide which paths to pursue as you work your way up the ladder.
A good place to start is with a five-year plan. Where do you want to be in five years, and how do you plan to get there?
Here are some tips for putting one together.
1. Set specific goals.
Setting a five-year goal, for example, of making more money or having more responsibility is not going to be very useful in your planning. They are too vague. Also, they aren’t very meaningful. Is that all you want from your career, to make more money? Think about what is important to you, what matters, what you want to do with your life.
A little research may be helpful here. You may, for example, want to have a certain job in five years. But how much do you know about the job? Would you be happy doing it? How well does it fit your personality?
2. Make an action plan.
A goal without a plan is just a wish. You need to create a step-by-step plan for how you are going to reach your goal. It helps to break down your main goal into smaller more manageable benchmark goals and focus on how you are going to reach those. Will you need more training or a mentor?
What key performance indicators will you need to meet to put yourself in position for a promotion or more responsibility?
And then, something just as important, set a time frame for when you want to achieve each goal.
3. Write everything down.
You can’t keep all of this in your head. Writing it all down gives your plan substance as well as making it real. Write down your short-term and long-terms goals, the skills you will need to achieve those goals, what you need to do to acquire those skills, and how long you expect it to take for each.
From time to time, review your career plan. As you move through your career, your perspective on things may change, and your original goals may no longer be relevant. Nothing is carved in stone. Reassess your plan and make changes as needed.
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