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Plan for the future: how to take the longview on your career

It is important to set up a career plan with both short and long term goals. This allows you to have a guideline and to always be aware of where you stand regarding your career goals and ambitions.. The long term career plan is a highly recommended approach to career assessment and future planning. In addition to setting goals, you identify the different means and tools to implement to reach them at the right time. In this article, you will find out how to define your long-term career goals and how to appropriately project yourself forward into the future.


How to define long term career goals

Real motivation for career success comes from knowing your purpose, your pace and your goals. Setting clear, well-defined goals will help you stay motivated, productive and ensure that you upskill as you intend. Your long-term goals will guide you down the path, then you can derive short-term goals that will make reaching your dreams and ambitions easier and more manageable on a daily basis. We all know that small daily actions lead to big changes and impacts, and this applies to your professional career as well. You can consider long-term goals as benchmarks that guide your short-term goals and daily actions in a more structured way.

Once you have reviewed and analyzed your goals, you need to take action and write them down so that you can organize and classify them. With this in mind, you are likely to be more committed and invested in your short and long-term career plan.


The SMART method for clearly defined goals

The SMART method is a strategic approach for defining the attributes of your goals. This allows you to build a detailed and realistic career plan. The letters in the acronym SMART stands for:

  • Specific: Your goal has to be relevant and suited to your own ambition and situation. This means that it must be a personal goal that is clear and specific. This will make it easier for you to devote the necessary efforts to achieve it.
  • Measurable : You must set the threshold of your goal’s success, regardless of whether it can be measured or qualified. To do this, you must set indicators to be able to evaluate your progress and success.
  • Achievable : The goal needs to be reasonable, and you need to make sure to have the appropriate means to achieve it. Keep it achievable so that it motivates you, rather than frustrates you halfway through.
  • Realistic : If you set a goal that is out of reach, chances are you’ll get discouraged and give up on it. The more realistic it is, the faster you will go.
  • Time-bound : The time dimension of your goal is very important. This feature helps you measure and manage the time and effort invested in achieving a goal. It allows you to be productive and to maximise the return on the invested resources, whether they are financial, human or time-related.

Identify your professional role model and make them you inspiration

If you have a role model who inspires you professionally, consider identifying their academic background, training, work experience and various certifications or skills. Looking at your role model’s career path will give you a clearer idea of where to go next. Educate yourself and build a strategy in order to create a similar yet personalized professional career that is tailored to your ambitions.


What is the most suitable answer to “Where do you see yourself in the next 5/10 years?”

This question is one of the most common questions in professional interviews, and it can quickly get you off balance. Before giving you tips and strategies for answering it, you need to start by understanding the purpose behind it.

Indeed, the recruiter or CEO who asks you this question is interested in identifying your ambitions and projects to see if they are aligned with the company's vision and needs. Through your answer, you must demonstrate motivation, pro-activity and strategic projection.

To answer this question in a convincing and structured way, consider :

  • Highlighting the alignment between the position description, along with your goals and skills. You can also mention the skills you intend to improve or consolidate through this opportunity. This way, you show your real motivation to evolve and become an expert in your field, as well as promoting the values you share with the company.
  • Confidently showing your ambition and your desire to evolve, both on a personal level and within the company. This will make your answer more convincing because you will be able to point out your potential contribution and added value to the company.
  • Imagining your future resume (in 5/10 years) and describing it in a concise way to your interviewer. Keep in mind the SMART method to be realistic and keep your imagination in check.

To sum up, prepare your answer ahead of time, so that you have a well argued stress-free speech. Here are the 6 tips to stay focused and on topic:  

  • Give a general answer without going into details
  • Be concise
  • Be judicious in communicating your career ambitions and goals
  • State the skills and work experience you would like to acquire and how this opportunity fits into the overall perspective of your answer.
  • State one or more values that you share with the company and that are important to you professionally.