sideways career

Shifting sideways: How a sideways career move can grow your career

Traditionally, career mobility is associated with moving up the ranks. But have you ever considered moving to a new position with the same responsibility and similar pay? There might not seem much point. But what if this new position exposed you to new skills, experiences, and opportunities?

For many people, a sideways career move can be just as beneficial as moving up. 

Seek and Indeed explain what a sideways career move is and why it can be beneficial.

What is a sideways career move?

A sideways career move involves shifting to a different role in the same company or industry with similar pay and responsibilities. It is also commonly referred to as a horizontal or lateral career move.


Benefits of a sideways career move


Develop breadth and depth of skills

No matter how advanced your skills are, there is always more to learn. A sideways career move can allow you to develop new skills and build on existing ones. Even if your responsibilities are the same, you may learn new systems, conventions or programs. Many of the skills you learn will be transferrable.


Stay at the same level

While you will be exposed to new opportunities, knowledge and experience, you won’t experience the increased stress and responsibility of a manager.


Increase resilience to change

The ability to adapt to change is essential in the modern workforce. By undertaking a sideways career move, you will challenge yourself and learn your capabilities. You will discover new ways of thinking, working and problem solving.


Increase networks and fulfilment

A sideways career move will expose you to new people and different experiences. By increasing your network, you will enhance your chances of promotion. You may learn more in your new role, increasing your job satisfaction.


Increase satisfaction

If your current role is not satisfying you, it might be time to look at a sideways career move. New challenges can re-invigorate you or increase your motivation.


Increase visibility & opportunity for promotion

Moving sideways to a different department can increase your visibility within the company. The more connections you make within the company, the greater your chances of promotion.


Increase exposure to opportunities

A sideways career move allows you to showcase your full range of skills which can increase your chances of promotion.


Your career has stagnated

If you feel like your career isn’t progressing, but there isn’t an opportunity to move to a more senior role, a sideways career move could be for you.


How to make a sideways career move

If you wish to make a sideways career move in your own company, it is a good idea to network with your colleagues and supervisors.

Speak to a manager about your decision. They may know of opportunities or even write you a letter of recommendation.

 If you work in a large company, you can also look online.

If you are looking for a new employer, check local job boards. Network with contacts who work at a company you are interested in. You can also write an expression of interest letter to an employer you are interested in working for. In this letter, you outline why you want to work for the company and how your skills and experience could benefit them.



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