How Lateral Moves Can Benefit Your Career

How lateral moves can benefit your career

Table of Contents

Many people believe that career success is all about climbing the corporate ladder as quickly as possible. However, there is another strategy that can be just as effective: lateral moves. In this section, we’ll explore what lateral moves are, why they can be beneficial to your career, and how you can make the most of them.

What are lateral moves?

A lateral move is a job change within the same company that does not involve a promotion. Instead of moving up the hierarchy, you move sideways to a different department, role, or project. Lateral moves can be voluntary or involuntary and can happen for various reasons, such as pursuing new challenges, expanding your skills, or dealing with a change in the company’s structure.

Lateral moves

Why are lateral moves beneficial?

  1. They expand your skillset
  2. They broaden your perspective
  3. They increase your marketability
  4. They boost your career growth

They expand your skillset

Lateral moves allow you to learn new skills and gain experience in different areas of the company. By taking on new responsibilities and challenges, you can develop a broader skillset that can be valuable in future roles or promotions. You also become more versatile and adaptable, which can make you a more valuable asset to the company.

They broaden your perspective

Lateral moves expose you to different parts of the company, its culture, and its people. You gain a broader understanding of how the business operates and how different teams collaborate to achieve common goals. This perspective can help you develop new ideas, approaches, and solutions to problems that you might not have considered otherwise.

broaden your perspective

They increase your marketability

Lateral moves can also increase your marketability in the job market. By gaining diverse experience and skills, you become more attractive to other companies that value versatility and adaptability. You also demonstrate a willingness to learn and grow, which are essential qualities for any successful professional.

They boost your career growth

Finally, lateral moves can boost your career growth in the long run. By expanding your skillset, broadening your perspective, and increasing your marketability, you become a more valuable and versatile employee. This can lead to more opportunities for promotions, salary increases, or even lateral moves to other companies.

How to make the most of lateral moves

If you’re considering a lateral move, here are some tips to help you make the most of it:

  1. Set clear goals
  2. Seek out mentors
  3. Be open-minded
  4. Communicate your intentions
  5. Focus on building relationships

Set clear goals

Before making a lateral move, set clear goals for what you want to achieve. What skills do you want to develop? What challenges do you want to tackle? What outcomes do you want to deliver? Having a clear vision of what you want to accomplish can help you stay focused and motivated.


Seek out mentors

When making a lateral move, seek out mentors who can help guide you and provide feedback. They can help you navigate the new role, give you insights into the company’s culture, and share their experiences and best practices.

Be open-minded

When taking on a lateral move, be open-minded and embrace new challenges and opportunities. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. You might discover new passions or strengths that you didn’t know you had.

Communicate your intentions

Make sure to communicate your intentions and goals to your manager and colleagues. Let them know why you’re making the move and what you hope to achieve. This can help you build support and buy-in from others, which is essential for your success.

Focus on building relationships

Finally, focus on building relationships with your new colleagues and stakeholders. Invest time and effort in getting to know them, understanding their goals, and how you can contribute to their success. Building strong relationships can help you integrate into the team more smoothly and increase your chances of success in your new role.

Focus on building relationships


In summary, lateral moves can be an effective strategy for building a successful career. They allow you to expand your skill set, broaden your perspective, increase your marketability, and boost your career growth. If you’re considering a lateral move, set clear goals, seek out mentors, be open-minded, communicate your intentions, and focus on building relationships. By making the most of a lateral move, you can position yourself for success both in your current company and in your future career endeavors.


Q1. Are lateral moves better than promotions for career growth?

Both lateral moves and promotions can be beneficial for career growth. It depends on your career goals and what you hope to achieve in your current company.

Q2. What should I consider before making a lateral move?

Before making a lateral move, consider your career goals, the skills you want to develop, the challenges you want to tackle, and how the move will impact your career growth.

Q3. How can I sell my lateral move to potential employers?

When selling a lateral move to potential employers, focus on the skills and experience you gained, the challenges you tackled, and the outcomes you delivered. Emphasize how the lateral move prepared you for the new role and how it can benefit the company.

Q4. What if I’m not happy in my new role?

If you’re not happy in your new role, it’s important to communicate your concerns to your manager and explore potential solutions. If necessary, you can consider other options within the company or explore opportunities outside of it.

Q5. How long should I stay in a lateral move before seeking a promotion?

The length of time you should stay in a lateral move before seeking a promotion depends on various factors, such as your career goals, the opportunities available, and your performance in the new role. It’s important to discuss your career aspirations with your manager and explore potential paths for growth within the company.

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