In an unpredictable world, traditional career planning is a waste of time. It’s close to impossible to pinpoint exactly where you’ll be in five years and work backwards. Instead, you need to see opportunities as they arise and take smart steps down the right path.
Begin with a direction, based on a real desire. While you can’t say what exact job you might hold down the line, you can say what matters to you. Is it working in a specific industry? Managing people or not? Having work/life balance? Your answers will point you in a productive direction. Then think about the means you have to move in that direction: What are your talents and skills? Whom do you know? What do you know? With these assets in mind, you can act as opportunities present themselves.
Adapted from the HBR Guide to Getting the Right Job.