Lateral moves give you the experience, exposure, and knowledge you need to end up with the job you ultimately want. Getting vertical promotions can be more difficult than in the past.
First, volunteer for projects that will provide you with exposure to new ideas and skills. This can be difficult because you have to do extra work outside your main responsibilities. However, not only will this move help you get the knowledge and experience you need for your next vertical promotion, but it will demonstrate to your employer that you are really interested in learning and in moving up in the organization, even if it means having to take extra time to work in a role that is not above your current position.
You can volunteer for a role within your company or for a community service organization with people who complement and don’t overlap your current network of people. This will give you exposure and influence you did not have before. You’ll be among individuals with whom you can increase your reputation for a certain skill.
With the skills you gain volunteering, you’ll have the experience and knowledge you need to do an even better job at your current position. Volunteering is a form of lateral move that can only benefit your career if you do so strategically. Volunteer with an eye to gaining experience that you cannot get on the job. When it’s time to apply for a promotion or a job with a better pay grade and job title, put that volunteer experience on your resume to help your application stand out. Employers will see that you have an eye to keep learning and that you are committed to helping your community – and your own business skills – improve.