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Career Advancement: Moving Up In A New Job

May 29, 2020

In today's job market, career advancement is about being strategic and tossing out conventional wisdom about how to get promoted.

The days of spending your entire career climbing the corporate ladder at one company are pretty much over. Typical tenure at a single job is now closer to five years than the five decades of yesteryear, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As such, there is less stigma associated with job changes to hinder your career advancement. Of course, job-hopping for its own sake shouldn't be an advancement strategy—after all, recruiters still look to job tenure as a hiring factor. But for some professionals looking to take a bold leap forward, finding the right job at a new company might be a place to start.

Further Reading: Take a chance on a new career.

Right-Sizing Your Career Prospects

Elaine Varelas,'s longtime Job Doc columnist, says there are pros and cons for career advancement at both small and big companies.

Small companies, especially start-ups, will give people the opportunity to wear a lot of hats and gain broader experience. "There is often more leeway and flexibility around opportunities for project work and role advancement, and you gain exposure to senior leaders and multiple aspects of the business," Varelas writes.

On the flip side, she says, switching jobs and moving to a bigger company can be beneficial as well. She notes that larger organizations will likely have more robust professional development and career training programs to help people gain skills. In addition, certain professionals who seek to specialize will likely have a more defined pathway to job promotions.

Consider what kind of progress you're hoping to find in your next opportunity. Would you like to try a range of new things and potentially find a new direction? Or really hone your current expertise?

Career Lattice vs. Career Ladder

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Monika Hamori emphasizes that lateral moves "may be justified by the prospect of a promotion in the near future." She shares the story of someone who quit his managerial job and landed a consultative role at a different company in the same industry. His new job brought him closer to the executive team on high-potential employee projects, putting him on a faster track to promotion in just 18 months.

Hamori also dispels the notion that changing industries or careers can set professionals back. In fact, 29 percent of the job changes that Hamori studied were job-hops that took people across industries. Hamori says companies won't penalize candidates if they lack industry-specific experience or knowledge, as long as they can demonstrate a strong track record in the kinds of skills that they're looking for. Someone who has demonstrably strong results in sales in a different industry can and should play up their achievements if the company they're interviewing with has a sales-driven culture.

"Look strategically for industries where your skills represent a genuine asset," Hamori writes.

Making the Promotion Case to Your Future Employer

When looking to improve your chances of being promoted at another organization, the best ways aren't all that different from angling for a promotion or new job.

Candidates who can show their new company that they're committed to continuously improving and developing new skills, by taking a class or enrolling in an advanced degree program, will demonstrate seriousness about their career, according to Glassdoor. In addition, it's important that you document your success. That way, when you're asking for a promotion, you can point to specific ways in which you've delivered value to your organization's mission and bottom line.

Regardless of what your title is, a new job with new opportunities and access to new skills and knowledge is something you should always be open to. Even if your next job isn't technically a promotion, it could place you on a faster track to where you want to go professionally.

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