When a Lateral Move is the Right Move

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Job changes are a part of life. It’s human nature to always be looking for something new; a new challenge, opportunity or space to grow in. People master the jobs they are in, and then they start looking towards the future. To whatever the next step may be.

What a lot of people don’t realize, however, is that the next step doesn’t always have to be up in order to be beneficial. Sometimes, the roadmap from here to wherever you want to end up includes a few linear steps along the way. Job changes that may not mean an increase in pay, or even a change in title, but that still open doors you wouldn’t have found your way to otherwise.

Every once in a while, a lateral move can be a strategic way to position yourself for that next step up.

Diversified Experience

Occasionally, job opportunities will come along that don’t necessarily mean any more prestige or money, but that do mean expanding upon your experience in ways you wouldn’t be able to in your current role. This may mean an opening in another department for someone who essentially does your job, but in relation to an entirely different aspect of the company. These moves can help you to become more educated in the various elements of your business and will allow you to boast a wider range of experience in the future. The more you know about your industry, and the greater your capabilities in the various elements of that industry, the more likely you are to be considered for leadership roles in the future. And the better your resume reads.

Increased Exposure

Another great thing about lateral moves is that they typically occur in-house, so you aren’t burning any bridges by leaving one job behind for another. But you are exposing yourself to leaders in a different department or area of the company, creating even more allies to turn to as you work on your goals for the future. If a lateral move allows you to increase your team of supporters, it is almost always a good thing. The more people in your company who come to know what you are capable of, the more likely you are to be considered for true promotions in the future. This obviously only works if you are able to put your head down and truly prove yourself, but a strong work ethic will carry over into whatever department you are working for – and if you believe in the work you are putting in, your supervisors in every department will see that, and begin to form a positive consensus of what you are capable of.

Impressing the Bosses

Everyone wants to be considered for promotions and steps up, but not everyone is always willing to dive right into those lateral moves. In fact, when it comes to job changes, most people want to know they are at least going to be due an increase in pay before shaking things up. It is precisely for this reason that the higher-ups pay attention when someone is willing to take on a position that doesn’t really mean anything more than challenging themselves to learn a new aspect of the business. It speaks volumes to ones work ethic and loyalty to the company when they are open to these lateral moves, particularly when they seem excited about the new challenge, despite the fact that this new challenge doesn’t come with any tangible benefits. Supervisors are almost always impressed by those willing to make these moves, and it can be a great way to position yourself for consideration when it comes to promotion opportunities down the line.

About Kylie Hammond
Executive Search Consultant, Head-Hunter, HR Consultant, Executive Career Coach, Expert Resume Writer & Executive Talent Agent.

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