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Looking for the next step in your career? That can also mean a lateral step. In this article, you will discover the value of a lateral career move and how it can advance your career.
Are you ready to take a big step up in your career? Well, have you ever thought about taking a step laterally to move up? Taking a lateral step can be beneficial in helping you get much-needed exposure to different parts of the business to get that promotion.
A lateral move is a strategic move that will allow you to gain new skills, increase your experience, and expand your network for future career growth and advancement.
In this article, you’ll discover:
What is the difference between a lateral move and a promotion?
How do you turn a lateral move into a promotion?
How do I tell my boss I want a lateral move?
Can you negotiate a new salary for a lateral move?
A lateral move is when an employee transitions to a new role or one that is very similar. This transition can be done internally with the same company or externally with a different company. The pay and position title for a lateral move may or may not be the same. A lateral move can be a position that leads to a promotion.
A promotion is the advancement to a higher position. As with a lateral move, a promotion can take place internally or externally. Promotions typically come with a new position title, pay increase, and different job duties.
The key difference between a lateral move and a promotion is that a lateral move involves a new job function whereas a promotion involves a vertical change in position.
Turning your lateral move into a future promotion requires a strategic approach and commitment to learning and growth. You must remove any negative thoughts or preconceived notions of making a lateral move.
Here Forbes lists tips to turn your lateral move into a promotion:
Focus on a great performance
Increase your portfolio of experience and skills
Build and nurture a strong network
Understand your value
Don’t lose sight of a long-term goal
In our article, how lateral moves can advance your career in unforeseen ways, the author writes, “To even consider a lateral move likely means you are able to look at challenges from many sides. Viewing lateral moves as a strategy for accomplishing career goals can present new possibilities and variety for the open-minded and risk takers, and enable exposure for those seeking to narrow down their career options.”
Be strategic and plan out your lateral move with the bigger picture in mind.
Telling your boss that you want to make a lateral move can bring on feelings of anxiety. After all, you don’t want your boss to take it personally. Bosses are people and may feel as if your reason for a lateral move is a reflection of their management style or worse, something personal. In addition, managers never want to lose their best people.
According to Harvard Business Review (HBR) research, “The main impediment to talent mobility is almost always the manager. Our research found that half of companies (and 74% of low performers) reported that managers’ failure to encourage movement was their top obstacle to mobility.”
Schedule ample time for you and your manager to meet and discuss your request to make a lateral move.
Use this meeting to share your goals and explain why you would like to make a lateral move. Let them know it is not a personal indictment against them, but a required step to advance your career.
Let this be a conversation and allow your manager to provide feedback and suggestions.
Offer to help train your replacement and provide updates and status on your current projects.
Thank your manager for all they have done for you, and let them know that you are ready for a new challenge because of all you have learned from them.
Yes. Just as you would as a new hire or accepting a promotion, you can negotiate a salary for a lateral move. And just as you would prepare to negotiate a starting salary for a new job or promotion, you will do the same for a lateral move:
Research the market as it pertains to your field and industry.
Prepare your case by highlighting your career accomplishments and how your past performance is a prediction of your future successes, leading to a benefit for the company.
Be flexible and consider the total compensation package when negotiating.
The key difference between a lateral move and a promotion is that a lateral move involves a new job function, whereas a promotion involves a vertical change in position.
Turning your lateral move into a future promotion requires a strategic approach and commitment to learning and growth.
Negotiate a starting salary for a lateral move just as you would if starting a new job or accepting a promotion.
Earnest is a Career Coach (CPCC) and Resume Writer with expertise in providing professionals with the tools to effectively navigate the job search and prepare for a successful career. He has extensive experience leading HR and recruiting efforts. Earnest specializes in training, coaching, and mentoring career seekers on how to gain and maintain a successful career filled with purpose and passion, and he believes true career success comes from being holistically balanced.