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In every job interview you’ve ever participated in, you’ve probably been asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Having a five-year plan in place isn’t just about formulating a great answer to that question, it’s also practical for your engineering career. If you don’t have your five-year plan in place, follow these steps to start growing and advancing.

Conduct a Self-Assessment

In order to achieve your five-year goals, it’s important to take a realistic look at where you are today in your career. This means more than just stating your current position – it requires some introspection. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Why did you choose the path you are currently on?
  • What motivates you? (Money, personal achievement, etc.)
  • How did you get to your current position?
  • What influenced career moves you’ve made in the past?

These questions help you understand the path you’ve taken to get where you are today, and can provide insight into how you might progress in the future.

Consider Your Personal Preferences

With career growth comes more responsibility, new opportunities, and sometimes life changes like relocating to a new area. It’s important to consider the types of job that mesh well with your priorities and preferences, and to understand whether certain things might be deal breakers. For instance, some people may not be willing to move for a new job, even if it means more money and higher status. It’s also important to consider your personality. If you are thinking about going into management, ask whether your personality is right for leadership. Be realistic about goals that align with your lifestyle, personality, family status and personal preferences.

Set Your Goals

Now that you’ve done some introspection, it’s time to define your five-year goal, and then break it down into smaller, annual goals. Use those shorter-term goals to keep momentum going and create a path to your ultimate desires. If, for example, your goal is to move into management, your short-term goals could include taking the lead on projects, creating new processes for your team or joining a professional organization in a leadership role. Remember, your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive.

Commit to the Goal, Keep the Plan Flexible

The path you take to achieve your goal can change based on circumstances. Don’t be so married to your plan that you miss opportunities that could propel you forward. When new opportunities arise, judge them by whether they move you towards your goal, not whether they fit into the plan you’ve mapped out.

If you are an engineer or technical professional in the southeast looking to grow your career, contact the recruiting experts at Selectek today. We can match you with engineering jobs  that will help you achieve your goals.

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