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Lateral steps aren’t always missteps

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in Hiring

Don't limit your career choices to staying in place or climbing the ladder. Sometimes, a lateral move represents the best—or only—option.

Accept a new position at the same level when:

You must. If the organization downsizes your department or your spouse's promotion dictates relocation, transferring to another office at the same level keeps the paychecks coming, and you can easily explain your move to hiring managers later.

You're seeking experience. Whether you're developing a greater understanding of your current employer's operations or transferring into a new industry, a lateral move allows you to develop new insights while standing on the foundation of your well-honed skills.

You crave change but not stress. Seek a transfer instead of a promotion when you feel stagnant in your position but other factors (such as attending night school) make taking on more responsibility impossible.

In your new position, show initiative in learning new ways to tackle your admin duties and, after settling in, suggest improvements for the operations there. You'll show future bosses that you'll be an asset no matter where they place you.

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