How to Map Out Your Career Path

Where do you see yourself in five years?

You’ve probably heard a version of this question before—it’s one of the most common questions asked in a job interview. Hiring managers expect candidates to be goal oriented, motivated, and have a realistic plan for their career trajectory. But planning out your career path isn’t just a part of interview preparation. It’s also often a conversation to be had between employees and employers, to foster growth and professional development within an organization. It’s useful to develop a path that outlines the expected trajectory for an employee at a company, defines roles and responsibilities at each level, and provides opportunities for exploration into new career paths. When employees and employers work together to develop this plan, it also helps to boost talent retention and morale. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, “employees usually feel more engaged when they believe that their employer is concerned about their growth and provides avenues to reach individual career goals while fulfilling the company's mission.” Mapping out a career path helps employees understand if their skills and experiences are on track with what’s expected of them as they progress upwards through a company. They’re also malleable assets and can be leveraged and adjusted during assessments and evaluations. To help you understand how to map out your own career path, we’ve created an example. The accounting career path below outlines a hypothetical career trajectory for an accountant who works at mid-size private firm. Whether you’re an executive looking to implement career mapping as part of regular performance evaluations, or you’re an employee seeking clarity on your future, we hope this serves as an effective template for you to implement and personalize relative to your own career.

VanderHouwen Accounting Career Path Example