While it might seem counter intuitive to switch companies only to have the same or a similar job title, more people are doing just that. The reason? It's harder to get a promoted role these days, and often the sideways move still provides incentive enough to leave, be it for a saner boss, a slight pay increase or a shorter commute.
These 10 tips will help you make the most out of a lateral move.
1. Look beyond the job title. Often, you'll find a position with the same job title as the one you have, only this one requires more than what you're currently doing. In this case, you're taking a tiny step up in the right direction. Your goal should be to increase your responsibilities slightly so that you expand your experience and beef up your resume.
2. Consider benefits other than salary. It's ideal if you can also make more than you're currently making in a sideways move, but if you can't, look at what other factors are at play. If you'll greatly reduce your commute, there are cost savings. And if this company offers plenty of opportunity to climb the ladder to better roles, that's also a benefit to consider.
3. Weigh the name-drop factor. If you're a manager for an unknown manufacturing company and have the opportunity to be a manager at a big brand, you need to weigh the long-term benefits to having the well-known name on your resume. It may open new doors down the road.
4. Look within your current company. Not all lateral moves need to be from one company to another. If your company is big enough, you could take a similar role in a department you're more interested in working for.
5. Change industries. If you're more interested in working in another industry that you have no experience in, a lateral move can be a great way to get there. You've already proven yourself in your current role, so you can look into expanding your industry expertise and move into the same role in a different industry. From there, the sky's the limit.
6. Target the boss you can learn from. If you're looking to move within your company, consider the best-run departments. Whom could you learn from as a mentor? Under his tutelage, you'll blossom into other roles as time goes by.
7. Ask yourself what skills you want. If you're not getting the skills you really want in your current role, look for a position that will teach you new ones. Make a list of those you'd like to add to your resume, then search for roles where you can learn them.
8. See the big picture. Don't just make a sideways job move just to make it. Consider how it'll help you achieve your long-term career goals and round out your background from a bird's-eye view.
9. Don't overdo the lateral jumps. One lateral job move is fine, but if you're swinging from job to job every few months, it's counterproductive. Be at a job long enough to make it matter, and aim for that next move to be one that goes up, not sideways.
10. Do your homework. Before diving into your next role, whether it's at the same company or not, make sure it will do what you want. Will it give you additional skills and experience you can leverage? Is there opportunity to move up at the company? Who will you be working with? All these questions are ones that you should consider carefully before disrupting your current work environment.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.