Is a Five-Year Plan Important for Admins?

Julie Shenkman
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Most job seekers are advised to develop a five-year plan to help them plan their careers. However, people who choose administrative or clerical jobs often wonder whether the five-year plan is as important for them. Is a five-year plan important for an administrative career? Absolutely. Making a five-year plan helps admin staff avoid professional stagnation and plan for promotions, increased responsibility and other career boosts.

An admin career is different from other career paths in that people who enter the administrative or clerical track often plan to stay on that track for years. A good administrative assistant or executive assistant might plan to perform that job for five years or more, making the question of a five-year plan appear to be a non-issue.

However, even if an administrative staff member hopes to be assisting the same executive five years down the road, taking the time to create a five-year plan is still an essential part of career success. In this case, the five-year plan helps the admin create a strategy for learning new skills, improving professional development and preparing for the eventual promotion or job change.

Every good administrative assistant or clerical staff member needs to cultivate a marketable skill set. Developing this skill set is an important part of an admin's five-year plan. A typical five-year plan might include developing expertise in administration-related software programs such as Excel or Photoshop, or learning about project management techniques to help executives manage their busy workloads.

An admin's five-year plan also needs to include professional development and networking opportunities. During years one and two, an admin should plan to attend relevant conferences and seminars for administrative staff. During years three, four and five, the admin can begin taking leadership roles in these conferences, such as volunteering to speak on a panel. This type of professional development work helps admin staff members establish themselves as experts in their field and gives them opportunities to connect with other administrative staff and form valuable networking relationships.

A good five-year plan also helps an admin or clerical team member prepare for performance reviews and salary adjustments. If an admin wants to ask for a raise, for example, providing evidence of professional growth is a key part of the conversation. A good five-year plan helps admin staff members plan for that professional growth and use it to negotiate raises.

Lastly, a five-year plan helps an admin go from being at the bottom of the office hierarchy to one of the most indispensable members of the company. A good admin is invaluable and becomes, effectively, part of a company's leadership team. Traveling the journey from assistant to leader is an important part of the admin's five-year plan.

Building an admin career involves developing a five-year plan, even if the administrative assistant hopes to hold the same job five years down the road. A good five-year plan helps admin and clerical staff plan for skill acquisition, professional development and salary adjustments. It also helps an admin develop from a staff member into a leader.

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