How To Develop A 5-Year Career Plan

Jeff Altman
5 min readNov 22, 2023

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

This is an executive summary of an article published on HBR.org

Turns out, having a long-term plan for your career can be beneficial.

A Gartner survey conducted in March 2022 found that fewer than one in three employees knows how to develop their career over the next five years.

If you’re one of those people, know that there are ways to move your career forward.

To reap the benefits of creating a long-term career plan, you must first step away from the habit of only setting yearly career goals.

Thanks to things like New Year’s resolutions and annual reviews, you may be under the impression that the best way to think about your career is on a yearly basis.

Here’s the thing: Careers aren’t built in a year.

Here are a few reasons why one-year plans don’t always work.

Of course, you can, and should, set incremental goals to make progress on these skills, but it’s important to think ahead about how you’ll continue to develop these capabilities.

Like skills, big goals tend to take multiple years to reach.

Completing a degree or certificate program, for example, can seem insurmountable when you’re only thinking of your career one year at a time.

If you plan to accomplish a larger career goal, you must plan ahead and consider the best timing to move forward.

Just one of these events is enough to throw a solid one-year plan completely off course.

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To put it simply, five-year plans open the door for you to think more completely about yourself and your career.

Having a long-term plan can help you focus on developing your transferable skills, as opposed to skills just for your current role and organization.

Five-year plans also give you the flexibility to change what’s no longer relevant to your long-term goals, without derailing your progress.

A multi-year plan can help you feel more fulfilled in your current role.

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Jeff Altman

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. Career Coach. Host of No BS Job Search Advice Radio & JobSearchTV.com. Join JobSearch.Community. It will help you