Moving up isn't the only way to advance your career |

Moving up isn’t the only way to advance your career

dont-move-up-the-ladderImage of young man crossing the street from Shutterstock.

Want success in your career? It used to be that you could just stick with the same company and advance through the ranks with experience and age. These days, employees have to forge their own career paths by seeking out opportunities that showcase their skills and net them experience. Writer Corrie Alexander explains.

Over the course of seven years, I managed to work my way up from an entry level position to a leadership role within the same company. Although I really liked my job and colleagues, I began to feel like there was no more room to grow.

Not to mention, the 60-75 minute commute each way was a killer.

Then the fateful day came when I was offered a job that was just ten minutes from my home. The downside? It was for a junior role in a totally different side of the industry. But after a weekend of deliberation, I took the job.

Although it was a scary move at the time, it turned out to be the best thing I could have done for my career. So I can say from experience that sometimes in order to get ahead, you need to take a sidestep or two first. Here’s why:

It can diversity your experience

Taking on any new role, even if it has a similar title and pay to what you were doing before, is bound to introduce you to new procedures and responsibilities.

Lateral career moves can also save you from a less than ideal situation if were to stay at your job.

If your current job has become stagnant or unfulfilling, this is a great way to freshen up your routine and be engaged by the company you work for – not to mention it spiffs up your resume and makes you more marketable to employers.

It keeps you relevant

In today’s working world, changing jobs not longer carries a negative connotation, and in fact, many employers are actually looking for employees who are willing to change jobs often as it demonstrates your versatility.

Some HR experts even go as far as to suggest that “job-hoppers” are top performers. That means that employers may be more inclined to hire someone who has had five short-term jobs than someone who’s complacently held the same role for ten years.

It creates new opportunities

If you’re trying to get into a different line of work, or you sense that you’ve hit a ceiling at your current company, it may be that the only way to move forward is to take a lower paying role or title at a different organization and work your way back up.

A similar or more junior role in a different organization might offer a higher ladder to climb or get you on the right track to reach your career goals.

Studies suggest that up to 80% of jobs are obtained through networking, so making a lateral move might increase the number of opportunities for finding the right longterm job. Afterall, a new job means new colleagues, new bosses, and new clients!

It gets you noticed

Another strategy is making several lateral moves within the same organization. The more you know about all the moving parts within the company, the more indispensable you become to them.

And indispensable employees are promotable employees. You will jump right to the centre of your employer’s radar if you demonstrate how adaptable you are by being able to work in multiple departments.

It can lead you to the right department

Lateral career moves can also save you from a less than ideal situation if were to stay at your job. Maybe the company you’re currently working at isn’t doing so well and you see the writing on the wall.

Sometimes it’s not about money or the title. It could be that the office culture where you currently work isn’t a good fit. Maybe you hate your boss, or the commute is terrible. Achieving an ideal work-life balance could be the most rewarding reason of all.

Have you ever made a lateral move and found it rewarding? We want to hear from you! Leave your comments below.