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Have you mapped out your future career plans? Do you think it's important to consider where your career is years from now?

Imagine that you have landed an ideal job interview. If you haven't asked yourself these questions yet, you might be blindsided during the interview if they ask:

"Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?"

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Don't stress! This can be a tough question to answer. Pause and give yourself time to think about how to respond, and you'll be able to answer this question effectively in an interview.

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Why the interviewer asks this question

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They ask this question to:

  • Get an idea of your future career plans

  • See if your plans match the job

  • Assess the potential value you may add to the company

  • Discover your level of motivation towards the job

This is an opportunity for you to impress and shine during the interview.

Icon illustrating two people having a conversation Before the interview:

  • Do background research on the position and company

  • Practice this question on your own and write down your answers

Tips for answering the question

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It's ok if you're a new graduate and don't have it all figured out yet! Show the interviewer you have a plan to figure it out. Don't think too hard or go around the globe with long protracted answers.

What you should do

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  • keep it simple yet meaningful

  • be honest and tactful

  • give realistic expectations

  • relate your answer to the position

  • explain how you're a good fit for the company

What you shouldn't do

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  • joke about the question — it may imply you don't have a plan

  • bore them with a long speech about a 15-year career plan

  • be unrealistic with goals you know can't be achieved within 5 years

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Take a look at some sample answers:

  1. “I’m excited about the [industry] space right now. I hope that in five years, I will get better at [skills] and learn more about how to become an expert in [skills] so that I can ultimately [goal that aligns with job description].”

  2. “I want to learn how to [skills] even better so that I can make even more of an impact, including [impacts you wish to make].”

  3. “I’m interested in applying my love of [broader themes of your skills] to help make a difference, especially with organizations that value [company’s value you align most with].”

  A TV panel show judge saying,

⚡Practice some responses

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Alice has landed a job interview for the position of elearning specialist at a training institution. As she prepares for the interview, below are sample answers she has prepared if the interviewer asks the question: "Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?"

A. "Five years from now, I would love to move on from elearning and use my skills and knowledge in the field of sales and marketing, as my passions lie in sales and marketing."

B. “I’m interested in applying my love of elearning to help make a difference, especially with organizations that value information and communications technology and the impact it can have on training and development.”

C. "Hopefully, sitting where you are in a management role and using my years of professional experience to build my career in this institution!"


Which answer will appeal the most to the interviewer?

Take Action

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With preparation and practice, you can answer the question: "Where would you like to be in your career 5 years from now?" confidently and effectively in a job interview!


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