As you strategize about advancing your career, a lateral move may not at first glance appear to be a good idea. If you are not moving up it can feel like you are not getting anywhere. Since you will have a parallel position, salary, and title it may cause you to hesitate about moving into a different department. However, there are some clear benefits to consider when you have an opportunity to make a lateral move that may help enhance your career over the long term.
A lateral career move can actually help move you closer to your goals.
Your initial reaction to a job opportunity in another department in the company may not seem to help in your desire to move up the ladder. However, if you are moving to a similar but different position, such as a career move from a sales associate to a marketing associate, you will have the opportunity to learn more aspects of your company and how a different department functions and works, which could be an advantage down the road when seeking a management or executive position. The knowledge from your previous position will give you a jump start in your new role since you are already familiar with the company’s products, services and customers.
Your current network of contacts may still play a role in advancing your career.
At first glance it may appear that you have to start from scratch in your new functional role since your contacts from your former position, including mentors, clients and peers in other companies, may no longer have the need to network with you. Even though you are moving down the hall, your current network can help you succeed in your new job. Your contacts may know people who can help you and mentor you in your new position as you begin to build a new network of contacts, and ultimately give you a much larger and even more useful one.
Even if you are not moving up, you should still be challenged in your new role.
When you make that lateral move, you will want to make sure you are still challenged as you take on different responsibilities to develop new job skills. For example, you may move out of a managerial role with direct reports, but instead take on more big projects that will elevate your visibility in the company. Ultimately when you make a thoughtful lateral move, you can move into a position that you enjoy more and gives you challenging career opportunities.
Source: “Surprising ways a Lateral Move Can Benefit Your Career,” by Avery Augustine, The Muse
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