Essential Tips For Long-Term Career Planning

Written By Alla Levin
January 22, 2022

Essential Tips For Long-Term Career Planning

Making long-term plans for your career can sometimes feel overwhelming and even intimidating sometimes. Most people end up staying away from it. But long-term career plans offer several benefits, including helping you achieve financial stability and security. It also gives you a firm understanding of your earning potential, helps you to set clear and measurable goals, and keeps you focused on track.

Long-term career planning means more than just writing down several pie-in-the-sky dreams and pretty much hoping for the best. The following tips will help you create a long-term career plan that’ll guide you through a successful and stable career path. 

Know what a long-term career plan is

A Harvard Business study found that 3% of MBA students who wrote down their goals ended up making a dozen times more than the other 97% who didn’t — ten years after graduation. As impressive as this sounds, is a long-term career plan simply about writing down goals? 

You can categorize goals or plans into long-term and short-term. A short-term goal you can complete between six months to a year, while a long term can take two to five years or more. It’s also important to note that several short-term goals feed into a long-term plan, making it easier to achieve. And this leads to the first important point for long-term career planning. 

Create realistic goals Long-Term Career Planning

Before setting your goals, make sure they’re practical, realistic, and achievable. While many motivational speakers will advise you to reach for the skies, you want to be careful not to set goals beyond your limits.

For example, you can plan to be the next president of the United States, which is an ambitious, yet, achievable goal. However, setting your sights on the president by the time you turn 30 is unrealistic. That’s because the legal age requirement for presidential candidates in the US is 35 years and older.

Identify realistic career trajectory 

Besides setting realistic career goals, you also need to know how to reach them. For example, if you want to become a politician, you should research what pathway to take and the qualifications or requirements to meet.

You should also know how long it will take you to achieve that career goal. It would also help to know what negatives your career choice comes with regarding health and finances. An effective way to gain some of the insight you’ll need is to investigate real people’s career paths. 

Investigate the career paths of others

You want to expand your horizon by investigating or doing some research into other people’s career paths, the decisions they took, obstacles they faced, and other bits of valuable information. This way, not only will you find the inspiration you need, but you’ll also have a fair idea of what the career path offers in terms of obstacles and how to overcome them. 

Knowing more about other people’s career paths can also give you more ideas if you don’t have definite goals yet. Take the time to look up people who have jobs you’re interested in or follow a career path you like. Read about them, learn more about the paths they took, and even find out their current financial situation as a result of their career. 

For instance, if you want to be a successful politician, you’ll want to read about accomplished politicians like Mitch McConnell and get a good idea of the Mitch McConnell net worth.  

Long-term career planning: identify employment trendsLong-term career planning

Your plan should prepare you for future trends, developments, and career changes, as that’ll ensure that you remain employed and valuable no matter the situation. You can do this by ensuring that you research the job market and careers regularly. Identifying key trends and changes ahead of time will help you equip yourself with the skills you need to adapt as soon as possible, so you’re not left behind.

For example, if you notice through your research that industries will lean more to a particular skill set in the following year, you can start learning how to acquire those skills immediately. In short, identifying employment trends will keep you from being static in a constantly evolving business world.

Stay focused on your goals

Once you set your career goals, remain focused on them. Take note of every milestone you reach while working towards those goals and track your progress. Every minor achievement will give you more confidence to forge ahead and a strong belief in your capabilities. Also, be sure to open yourself to constructive criticism while maintaining a positive attitude throughout your career journey. 

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