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    It is a common misconception that the only way to excel in your career is to get promoted—either within your current company or by leaving for a promising new position somewhere else.

    However, a lateral career move within your current company can be a great way to help you grow and learn.  A lateral move could also make you a strong candidate for a promotion later on.

    So what exactly is a lateral move? A lateral move is changing jobs within your company that doesn’t necessarily warrant a raise in pay, but it is a move that allows for you to explore new opportunities, learn new skills, and perhaps work with an entirely different division or team.  It doesn’t mean that you aren’t making strides toward your end career goal.

    A lateral move can communicate to your peers and supervisors that you are always interested in learning and bettering yourself, that you are a team player who is seeking new and interesting opportunities—and importantly it shows that you are committed to your organization.

    Here is a list of ways a lateral career move can benefit your career.

    • Gain Knowledge: By moving laterally in your company, you have the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge about how it runs. Rather than just knowing how your specific sector operates, you will expand your knowledge into different sectors.
    • Become a Valuable Asset: The extra knowledge you gain could help set you apart from your colleagues. Even though a promotion might not be attainable currently, this lateral move may put you in a better position for a step up the ladder in the future.
    • Build Your Network: Your network will grow when you are interacting with a new group of people. While getting to know your new colleagues, be sure to keep up to date with those from your previous team so you can sustain the growing network.
    • Gain More Responsibility: You will gain a new set of responsibilities with your lateral job move, but since you have already been working at this company, you will likely hold on to some of your old responsibilities as well. If you handle the lateral move correctly, it will be a great opportunity to prove your worth.
    • Change: Sometimes, a job can start to feel monotonous. What better way to gain new drive then shifting to a new set of day-to-day tasks? If you are looking for even more change, lateral moves—depending on your organization—could also shorten your commute or move you to a new city.

    The business world is a lot different than it once was. Promotions are no longer the only way to grow in your career. A lateral move is something to be proud of and to take very seriously. Though you may not receive a higher title or a pay raise, the knowledge and relationships gained from a lateral move can be a step toward a greater career goal.

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