Young Professionals: 10 Things to Include in Your 5-Year Plan

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Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers!

Today’s Question: What is one thing that every young professional’s five-year plan should include, and why?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization composed of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs.

1. Community Service

Getting involved with a cause you care about through volunteering or board leadership is indispensable to crafting your career. This is a wonderful way to connect with your peers and increase your network while giving back. — Ashley Sharp, Dwell With Dignity 

2. Continued Professional Education

I don’t care what your job title says. I don’t care how many years of school you’ve already completed. You never stop learning as a professional. I always recommend finding courses, seminars, or networking events that will allow you to acquire more professional knowledge as you advance in your career. — Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy 

3. One Big Goal for Every Year

When creating your five-year plan, it helps to set one major goal for each year that passes. This can be educational, professional, personal, or anything you’d like. As long as it’s something you can work toward, it’s valid. Use your five-year plan to break down each of the next five years so you can see yourself making progress and moving forward. — Jared Atchison, WPForms 

4. An Emergency Financial Backup Plan

This means creating savings that you never touch and building a side skill that could help you get a job different from the one you’re doing now. Having a backup or two like this can give you a net to fall back on in case negative life events happen. — Blair Williams, MemberPress 

5. Time for Reflection

Set aside time to look back on the decisions you’ve made and where they’ve led you. Think about the people you’ve met and the things you’ve learned. Incorporating time for reflection gives you an opportunity to reevaluate you goals and decisions and make adjustments along the way. — Yifei Yin, Human Heritage Project 

6. Networking Opportunities

Networking boosts professional growth faster than anything else. This is something young people often miss. Make as many professional connections as possible, be helpful, and offer your value whenever you feel you can provide it. In five years’ time, you are going to be happy that you spent so much time building your network. — Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS 

7. Personal Branding Efforts

You need to find a way to package the skills, talents, and experiences that make you who you are. Why? Your personal brand is how you present yourself to the world, and it helps you establish yourself as an authority and expert in your field. It will also allow you to build trust with prospective clients and future employers. — Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker 

8. A Location Plan

I think every young entrepreneur should know where they want to live in five years. Despite the growth of remote work in 2020, location still plays a significant role in your access to opportunities. If you want to find success within five years, think about where you want to be by that time and how your location will help advance your career. — John Turner, SeedProd LLC 

9. Time for Creative Skills

Every person should plan to develop some kind of creative skill. Painting, carpentry, and similar skills are just as important as more traditional, white-collar job skills. Cultivating your creativity will bring you personal satisfaction you won’t experience any other way. — Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner 

10. Personal Time

As eager professionals, we think a lot about goals, deadlines, financial markers, and achieving “success.” Under all that pressure, it can be really easy to burn out. That’s why it’s important to celebrate the small wins and your progress. Plan some personal time, family time, or relaxation into the milestones you intend to reach along the way. — Jennifer Buonantony, Press Pass LA and PPLA Social + PR 

By Recruiter Q&A