10 Things You Should Have Achieved by 5 Years into Your Career

David Leithead 09.07.2019

Are you 5 years into your career? Here is what you should have achieved by this stage of life:

1) A professional qualification

If your specialism has a respected professional body and qualification, then it is crucial for you to become a member. This will benefit your CV and help build your personal brand. If your chosen career does not have a qualification, then think outside the box. What qualifications can you study in a similar/related field? What skills are important in your trade? Local colleges provide a huge range of topics - don't hold yourself back, go out into the world and learn.

2) Supervisory experience

It doesn't matter if you are in a management role or not, you can always assume an unofficial supervisory position. After 5 years it is reasonable to expect that you are no longer the new person in your team. Use this experience to start passing on knowledge to more junior colleagues. Don't wait to be asked, get stuck in. It will do wonders for your confidence, and your career. 

3) Supported a project outside your remit

Today's leaders want people who are able to engage with the business and work cross functionally. As one of my clients once said, it is important to "play in other peoples sandboxes".What is holding me back from achieving my potential?

If the opportunity to work on a cross functional project has not arisen, go into the business and ask how you can get involved. If you work in marketing, go spend a day with sales. If you work in finance, ask to sit in on operational meetings. 

4) Gained a promotion

Promotions don't come easy. But after 5 years, if you are still at the same level as when you joined, you should ask yourself some questions. Am I doing what I really love? Am I giving 100%? Do I work in the right organisation? What is holding me back from achieving my potential? 

5) Grown your pay by at least 50%

Many people will double their pay in the first 5 years. At the very least, you should be aiming to grow your total pay by 50%. If you have missed this target, ask yourself (and your boss) what you need to do in order to progress?

6) Presented to your bosses boss

Always respect the chain of command, but you should equally grasp every opportunity to get in front of senior management. Put yourself forward for presentations. If suitable presentations don't exist in your division, ask to shadow your boss in appropriate senior management meetings.

Put yourself forward for presentations.

7) Mastered a skill

Even if it is in a minor or small area of your role, it is immeasurably valuable to be the best at something. organisations will pay for your market leading skills, and your team will come to rely on you, increasing your job security. 

8) Influenced a key decision

Work would be boring if we never made a difference! Luckily, most of us influence decisions everyday, yet some people don't realise or remember their own inputs, especially when it comes to interviewing for the next job. Make sure you are making a difference.

9) Have run a training course

This links back to being a master at part of your job. If you have acquired an important skill, you may as well advertise the fact! And what better way than to help others reach your level of expertise. It will endear you to your boss, help build your self confidence, and prepare you for your first leadership role.

Why not take a pop at a senior vacancy?

10) Applied for a role outside your comfort zone

What have you got to lose? You are settled in your career and starting to make some real waves. Why not take a pop at a senior vacancy? You have very little to lose, and the feedback will help focus your mind on what you need to achieve next. 

Do you agree or disagree with my list? Feel free to comment below or message me your thoughts.

David Leithead's picture
Chief Operations Officer UK


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