Five Years in Five Steps: Mapping Out the Future

November 29, 2011 by Careerminds

Jennifer Fry
Careerminds Consultant


Can you remember what you were doing with your education or career five years ago? Whatever it was, it has had a direct impact on what you are doing today. And you know what that means. What you are doing today will have a direct impact on what you will be doing five years from now. It may seem excessive, maybe downright neurotic, but taking the time to plan out the next five years of your professional life can make a real difference on where you end up.

An exercise known as the five-year resume is often assigned to students in an attempt to create a sort of road map of the steps necessary to reach their careers goals. That having been said, this same method can be just as practical for more experienced job seekers in career transition or just looking to move up the ladder.

  1. Compose a current resume. Write a real resume that you would use to apply for a real position right now. This current information will serve as a starting point for your five-year goals.
  2. Create a five-year resume. Write a resume in standard format as if you had already achieved these goals. All advances in education, training, employment, skills, activities, etc. should be included. After crafting and completing your plan to make these advancements, this is, in essence, what your resume will actually look like in five years.
  3. Determine all short term and long term goals. Long term goals might include “complete a Master’s degree” or “gain employment at Company X.” Short term goals will include smaller milestones that must be met to reach the larger long term goals, such as “apply to graduate school” or “apply for an entry level position at Company X.” Record your progress as you make strides in completing these goals.
  4. Create a plan of action. Break down your goals one step further by identifying applicable tactics you will use. To apply to graduate school, for instance, you’ll need to take the GRE. Your next five years can be broken down by year, month, week, etc. to clearly define what it takes to successfully complete each step. Consider the following questions: What needs to be done? When will it be done? What resources will be needed (time, money, emotional and physical support, experiences, and opportunities)?
  5. Decide how your plan will be implemented. Along the way, goals and plans may change, but be sure to make adjustments and continue on toward your end goal in a sequential fashion.

Use this step-by-step process to compose your own five-year resume, and determine exactly what you need to do to achieve your goals. Think of it as creating the map to your very own treasure: a successful career.


Careerminds provides scalable, strategic solutions to organizations seeking affordable, web-based outplacement services. Using a Web 2.0 e-learning platform that delivers affordable, online career transition services, Careerminds provides a high-tech and high-touch blend of on-demand career transition education supported by senior-level career consultants to help displaced workers reenter the workforce quickly.



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