For some job seekers and candidates, the phrase “lateral career move” brings with it a negative connotation. That is unfortunate, since these types of moves hold tremendous potential for career growth and satisfaction.
However, the key to unlocking that potential involves viewing lateral moves as opportunities and proactively seeking out ways to capitalize on those opportunities.
While the term “lateral move” often refers to a change of job title and responsibilities within the same company, in this blog post we’ll be referring to a situation where a person takes a new job at another company that is roughly equivalent to what they were doing for their previous employer.
Below are four reasons why you should NOT dismiss a lateral career move:
Reason #1—A wider array of work experiences
Every single experience you have during your professional career can help you to enhance that career. That’s because you can learn something different from all of those experiences, and not just from a technical standpoint. This also applies to your interaction with people—your boss, co-workers, and even customers. More than half of the success (or lack of success) that you’ll experience in your career depends on how well you work with others.
Reason #2—A greater network of contacts within the industry
A different company brings with it different people and the opportunity to both work and network with them. These people offer unique experiences and perspectives, so they will not only bolster your connections on LinkedIn, but they will also further contribute to your overall world view. The richer your world view, the greater your chances for continued career growth.
Reason #3—The chance to acquire new skills and training
Again, a new company offers different opportunities, and that certainly applies to training. Even though it might be considered a lateral move, perhaps your new employer offers more in the way of training materials, courses, or classes. Maybe it has a mentoring program. Sometimes, you don’t know how green the grass is on the other side until you travel to that side.
Reason #4—An increase in compensation/benefits
In the majority of cases, the compensation for a new job is greater than what the person just left, even if only marginally so. (In some cases, it’s substantially more.) A typical raise for an employee is 2% to 3%, and it’s 4% to 5% for a top performer. Those who accept a new position at another company can expect an increase of at least 5% to 8% . . . even if that new position represents a lateral career move for the job seeker.