How to Create a 10-Year Career Advancement Plan

If you’ve read our guide to making a five-year career plan, you’re already on your way to scaling the corporate ladder. Now it’s time to go a few steps further and expand that five-year plan to 10 years.

You may have already heard some typical career advancement tips, such as “get the years of experience you need” and “show initiative,” but when it comes time for that big promotion, how can you be sure you’ll get the job?

Before you get there, it helps to see your career goals on paper. So to start off, here is a sample outline for a 10-year plan. Take the time to fill in goals within this outline specific to you so that you can tailor it to your personal career path.

year 1

Year 1: Your current job

  • Take your time to learn about the responsibilities of your role.
  • Learn about the company and understand their values.
  • Seek a mentor.
years 2-3

Years 2 – 3: 

  • Master the technical and relational skills needed for this job and the one immediately above you.
  • Take the time to network with those in management.
year 4


  • Receive a promotion to middle management and revisit the core principles of your role and how to master them.
  • Connect with colleagues and get familiar with those in other areas of your business to gain a better understanding of the big picture.
years 5-6

Years 5 ­­– ­6: 

  • Improve your skill set further, whether it is at work or pursuing continuing education.
  • Learn how your role affects the business at large and what you can do to aid in its success.
year 7


  • Receive a promotion to higher up in middle management and revisit the core principles of your role and how to master them.
  • Reflect on your achievements and how your new role can become leverage to complete even more.
years 8-9

Years 8 ­– 9: 

  • Learn even moreso that you understand most everyone’s jobs and how they all work together. Take the time to learn the ins-and-outs so you have the answer when your superiors request information.
  • Pursue classes or read books covering areas of professional weakness (public speaking, time management, management) and work to close the gaps.
year 10


  • Receive a promotion to director / vice president and revisit the core principles of your role and how to master them.
  • Consider connecting with a new mentor or confidant to better fit your ambitions at this place in your career.

Are you noticing a pattern? One of the most important tips for building a successful career is never stop learning. Increasing your knowledge in your field and your knowledge of how to work effectively with others will serve you well in a corporate environment.

Another important tip is to love your business. After all, the company’s success is your success. This doesn’t mean you should become a stressed out workaholic! Nor does it mean you should have warm, fuzzy feelings when you arrive each day. No, loving your place of employment is as simple as expressing an interest in what’s going on with the business and the industry at large. If you notice problems as you work, don’t just point them out or complain about them to another employee — take the time to uncover the root of the problem and provide recommendations for how to resolve it.

Everyone’s career path will be a little bit different depending on their field, but creating a 10-year plan is certainly the first step in building a successful career.


Babs is a content writer at Enova International, Inc. with a Bachelors in Cinema Studies and English from the University of Illinois (ILL-INI!). She loves binge watching musicals, reading in the (sporadic) Chicago sunshine and discovering great new places to eat. Accio, tacos! Find out more about her on Google+.


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