While some people have their entire career mapped out until retirement, others can’t see far enough into the future to know what they’ll be able to finish before the end of the day.
Employers know that not everyone has a path set in stone. When they ask where you see yourself in five years, they really want to know:
- Do you have realistic expectations?
- Are you ambitious?
- Does this position align with your goals?
Companies want to invest in employees who see their position as a good career move, plan to be there long term, and will work tirelessly to do a good job. They don’t want to hire and train someone who will jump ship the first chance they get, or expect a big promotion within the first few months.
Depending on how the job opportunity lines up with your career goals, there are a few different ways to approach the question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Outline a realistic career path.
Do some research on the industry and see what a typical career trajectory looks like. Some fields, like marketing, tend to promote employees every few years while others, like accounting, can keep you in one position for a while. Assuming the job is in a field you want to get ahead in, show that you understand how most people do that and what the average promotion rate is.
Example: “My goal right now is to find a position at a company where I can grow and take on new challenges over time in the field of marketing. Eventually, I’d like to take the lead on projects and get involved in brand management.”
Highlight expertise as your goal.
If there is no clear career path or no senior position to the role you are currently applying for, you still want to show initiative and express your desire to grow. What does mastering your field look like? Who is the most successful person in your industry and how can you achieve what they have?
Example: “Within five years, I would like to be recognized as an expert in the event planning industry and have expanded my client base by 20 percent.”
Be honest if you aren’t sure what you want to do.
Never lie to an interviewer just to get a job. If you are hired for the position, your employer will have a better understanding of what you are looking to get out of the role. They may even give you projects in different areas to determine exactly what you like. Just be sure to express your enthusiasm for the opportunity in front of you.
Example:“I’m not sure what the future holds, but I see how the opportunities available in this role could help me to make that decision. I’m excited to work for a company that believes in employee growth and is working tirelessly to make business simple for employers in Hawaii.
Change course if you know this position isn’t for you.
You have to be honest with yourself. If this is not the career path you want to go down, find a different position, one that is right for you. You should look forward to showing up to work on Monday morning. Even if you get the job, can you commit to doing it well? Will it make you happy in the long run? You risk negatively impacting your professional trajectory if you take a job you really don’t want.
Explore different industries and the world.
How would you like to travel and only work in between your globetrotting adventures? Or grow a home-based business while bringing in a reliable paycheck? Maybe you need to focus on family care-giving for a while, but still could use some extra income?
A great way to grow professionally while remaining flexible and free to follow your passions, is by taking on temporary work through a staffing agency.
As a temporary employee, you can work on assignments and projects in different industries with multiple companies to get a feel for what you like best.
At ALTRES Staffing, we have been specializing in temporary services for nearly 50 years. We work with some of the top employers in the state to fill long and short term positions.
Check out our job listings, express interest, and speak to one of our experienced recruiters today!
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