Career Advice

Do You Have a 5 or 10 Year Career Goal Checklist?

career goals

When you think about it, we all have to work for a long time before reaching retirement age. With so many years to fill, it is not uncommon for many of us to have a five, ten or even fifteen year or more career plan. Whether that is seeking out progression and promotion within one target company or industry, or having ambitions to learn skills and build a network of business contacts to enable you to go it alone at some point by setting up our own business.

With the UK currently leading the world in creating university graduates, it has now become a thing for graduates to have a long-term career plan in place. According to statistic released by the UK Department for Business Innovation & Skills, the UK is responsible for producing a higher number of degree-holders than many other countries, including Norway, Switzerland and Germany. In fact, 47% of UK school leavers are now entering higher education, compared with just 19%, 30 years ago. The UK has expanded its university industry far quicker than other European countries.

Higher number of people making career plans

On paper, the UK is now a world leader in ‘skills’ and hold a record for having the most skilled workforce the country has ever had. What this means is that there are now more graduates than ever in UK history formulating long-term career goals and career achievement targets that they are setting out to meet within a specific time-frame.

With so many graduates looking to set up long-term career plans, there is a whole new industry growing around professional executive career advisors. There have always been career advisors, but more specialized executive advisors are now being needed to help steer graduates on ever-increasing career paths, setting mini-milestones and targets to reach and offering long-term coaching to achieve those goals.

How many things can you do for your career by age 35?

While older generations of workers were more into having greater flexibility with their work, younger workers and those graduates just entering the workplace are now keen to put timelines on things. They are now creating a whole list of things to do by 30, 40, 50 or even to achieve before retirement – or after it!

‘There is no time like the present’ and career experts recommend that people get started on their career goals sooner rather than later. This is mostly because the marketplace for desirable jobs has become even more competitive over the past ten years. With pension ages being raised, meaning that the older workforce will remain in place for longer, there are far less job opportunities opening up through retirement at the top end of the career ladder than ever before.

This means that those already in middle or higher management positions are not moving up the career ladder as quickly as before to fill those top positions, and therefore their own jobs are not opening up for upcoming workers either.

Younger workers plan more

Despite this shift in career opportunities becoming more competitive, younger workers are even more keen to tick off specific career goals by the age of 35 that will prove their readiness to take on extra responsibilities or move into a higher position at work.

If you are looking at setting yourself some career goals to achieve by age 35, we have some tips for you that you can use to help you build your career plan so you achieve your targets:

Know your strengths

Do you excel at one thing in particular? Knowing what your superpower is can help you achieve great things. You will find that the most successful people in life know exactly what they are good at. This can be a great strength to possess and use either in helping you climb the career ladder at work or to launch your own successful business.

Know your weaknesses

Knowing what you are good at is one positive boost, but knowing what you are not so good at can also be an advantage. You can put in the work you need to bring your skills and knowledge up so that you no longer have this weakness. If this is impossible to achieve, then you can look to address your weakness by working with or hiring people who have the skills that you lack. Delegating tasks to those with the necessary skills will mean freeing up your time to dedicate to what you do excel at, plus it gets the job done, which reflects well on you.

Define your no-go opportunities

Progressing up your career ladder takes time – in some cases, you will have many years of ladder rungs to climb ahead of you. The last thing you want to happen is for you to take a side-step off your career ladder by accepting any unsuitable opportunities that come your way.

There is a good chance that as your career progresses, you will have a lot of opportunities come your way. This could be from within the company you work for, or from an outside company wanting to head-hunt you. While you might be flattered by these opportunities and job offers, you don’t need to waste your time and energy pursuing them if they detract from your intended path. Learn to recognize opportunities for what they are – either a boost up the ladder with great prospects for further career advancement, or a side-step with no further progression that could leave you floundering in the same position for many years.


Remember to learn from your experiences, both good and bad. Use your knowledge and strengths to help you move towards the next milestone in your career plan.

job search assets

Leave a Response