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Do You Need a 5 Year Career Plan?

"Where do you see yourself in five years?"

Every interviewer, manager, and skip level boss that you've ever had is asked you this question. But do you really need a five year career plan to succeed at work?

In this post, I'm going to give you the answer.

Spoiler Alert - Yes, You Do (with a Cavaet)

WAIT! Before you click the back button since you have your answer, the answer is loaded. Because if you don't know the reasons of having a 5 year plan this is so important, and the four areas of impact that your career success plan will really have, it would be a huge challenge to create a five year plan that was effective and impactful.

So let's explore the reasons why a five year plan will transform your career...

Demonstrates that you have direction

Five Year Career Plan

Ambitious professionals do not float through life.

They have goals that they want to achieve, and they actively create the opportunities to make those a reality. And this is one of the reasons why they get assigned to key projects, they get stretch opportunities, and yes, they even get promoted based on their potential. Because the people who matter know that they have a vision and they have goals that they're working towards.

What this is actually telling people is that this is someone who is going to go and make things happen. They have skin in the game, they're motivated because they know that the success of the company is going to parlay into their career success.

Basically, other people are going to see you as someone who gets stuff done, it's going to help other people see that you are someone who takes professional achievements seriously.

It helps the people that can help you know exactly how to help you

Five Year Career Plan

Okay, let's face it, no one's gonna ask you your five year career plan as small talk.

Trust me, this does not make dinner party conversation.

The people that are going to ask you about your five year career plan are one of two people: either they're someone who's trying to assess if your goals are aligned with them, so that they can say hire you, or they're someone who's in a position to help you achieve the goals. And what they're really asking is how they can help.

I recently spoke with a really ambitious professional, who had actually created a really impressive network of mentors. And sure, these were all great people. And she had the prestige of saying that she had mentors in the C suite at fortune 50 companies. I'm talking about the mentors that most women would sacrifice a Chanel classic flap just to meet, let alone work with.

But here's the thing: Her mentors weren't helping her at all.

Her mentors asked her constantly about her five year plan, they were both professionally and personally invested in her. But without actually knowing where she wanted to go in her career, none of them had any idea how to help her. So they couldn't help her.

Having a career success plan is going to help your leadership and those in your network of advocates understand exactly how they can help you and how they can support you in achieving the goals. It is as much about them as it is about you.

Without a plan, you won't go very far

Five Year Career Plan

And it's not unusual for people to give me a counter argument to this one.

"My cousin's friend, Lisa, didn't have a plan, and she's the CEO of the biggest company in my city."

Now, let's be clear, Lisa got lucky.

If you want to progress in your career, if you want to get promoted at work, and you want to reach the highest levels of leadership, there is one thing that I can guarantee you: you will end up working with other super talented and highly ambitious people. And the difference between them and you will be that they have plan.

Sure it's possible to grow in your career without a plan, you may get promoted at work without applying any sort of strategy that's only going to bring you so far. And it's not going to bring you anywhere close to your potential.

It's going to help guide you in your career

This is one of the most important lessons that I learned from one of my mentors. Once you have your five year career goals established, you're going to be able to navigate any professional decisions that you need to make with ease.

Have you ever wondered if you should accept a new role that you were offered?

Or maybe apply for a promotion?

And you weren't sure if it was the right move at the right time?

Well, with your five year career success plan, the answer is going to be obvious. This is what one of my mentors told me. She told me that against her five year plan, she based all of her career decisions based on it. So when she was presented with an opportunity, she asks herself one simple question, does this get me closer to my goal? Or does it get me further from my goal? So any decision that she was presented with, she just simply had to determine which direction of brought her in if it didn't bring her closer, she didn't pursue it. If it did, she did.

The impact of this advice on my career has been absolutely profound. And it's been instrumental for so many of my clients as well.

It's when you have your five year career plan and your goals established that really anything becomes achievable, where most professional struggle is actually dreaming up a big vision for themselves for them to live up to and then getting the strategies and the tactics in place to help them achieve those goals and getting the right strategies in place to help them climb the corporate ladder.


To fast track your career and reach your full potential, having a five year career success plan is a non-negotiable.

If you have a general idea, or need help finding the general idea, of where you want to go and you need additional support and guidance in order to actually develop that and learn the strategies that are actually going to help get you to your end point - then what you need is my free masterclass. In and I share the five secrets to getting promoted at work even if you work in a male dominated industry. It's 35 action packed minutes and it's available on demand. You can register and watch it right now at

I'd like to know what's held you back from creating this five year career plan. Let me know in the comments.

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