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Whether the question “Where do you see yourself in five years?” comes from an interviewer or personal reflection, how you choose to both tackle and respond to the question speaks volumes. When answering it from a personal point of view to assist yourself in chartering your course, the answer may be genuine and introspective. However, when answering the question while in a job interview, many choose to answer based upon what they think the potential employer wants to hear.

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But that might not always be the best answer. But we’ve got amazing tips for you to answer that probing question the way you should.

1) Be Honest

The worst thing you can do other than lying to someone else is to lie to yourself. It is next to impossible to seek peace and happiness in life and in a job if you are not honest. Spend time with your present self and your past lessons to determine what’s next.

2) Do Your Research

If you want to go back to school to finish your degree, map it out in terms of costs and time. If you want to transition from transactional law to litigation, speak with those who have done so before. If you want a promotion at your job, speak with your supervisors and Human Resources to determine the feasibility and best way to attain it.

3) Be Considerate

If you are interviewing for a position and this question is posed, you should not answer “I want your job in five years.” This can be taken as a threat and as a complete turn off to those interviewing you.

4) Be Specific

Understand and fully articulate how where you are now and how the plans you have for the next five years will get you to the desired place in life or position you want. If you are taking courses now to make you more marketable in Finance, explain this in detail. How do your current actions set you up for your goals to be realized in five years?

5) Be Realistic, yet Faithful

I try not to place limitations on other’s goals because I have seen some true miracles in my day, both personally and professionally. If you are currently in law school and your goal in five years is to be a Supreme Court Justice, this goal may take some restructuring of expectations on your part. However, if you are in law school and you dream of one day being a Supreme Court Justice, a five year plan that includes graduating, passing the bar exam and clerking for a specific Judge is definitely within reach and you have set your faith and works in action to attaining your ultimate goal for the future.

Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates ( She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.

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5 Tips For How To Answer: ‘Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years?’  was originally published on