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The surprising benefits of a horizontal career move

The surprising benefits of a horizontal career move

The early years of establishing your career can be both exhilarating and discombobulating. You’ve got your feet under the table and learnt the ropes in your first role but taking that all-important next step in order to grow your breadth of experience and relationships with industry peers and clients can be daunting.

While a pay-rise and new job title are commonly motivating factors in making a move, it’s also important to consider the bigger picture – and it’s never too early in your career to think about where you ultimately want to be and how your next role will help you get there.

Expand your expertise and network

A horizontal move, while not immediately satisfying the pursuit of a bigger pay-cheque or title, can ultimately prove to be one of the smartest moves of your entire career. Exploring roles in multiple areas of the healthcare industry early on will help you to expand your expertise and ensure that you’re working in the sector that best complements your skills and interests.

Don’t pigeonhole yourself before you know exactly where you want to be. In understanding different areas of the industry, you’ll be better placed to explore a broad range of roles in your future career while expanding your contacts in different fields of the industry along the way.

Fresh thinking, new styles and different challenges

It’s also worth remembering that job titles and remits aren’t standardised across the board and that an account manager role in one business may be entirely different from one with the same title in another!

In joining a new team with different working practices and managerial styles you will open yourself up to new ways of learning and interacting with colleagues and clients. Never underestimate what you can learn from a new boss or peer. Different businesses have completely different working environments, cultures and approaches to career progression. Take the opportunity when you make a move to experience something new which challenges what you already know.

Counter-offers can be risky

While it’s flattering to receive a counter-offer from your existing place of work in a bid to retain your talent and expertise, be mindful that in accepting a pay rise in your current role you may be pricing yourself out of the market when you look to move in the future. A small short-term gain may hurt you long-term when looking for your next position. Remember to ask yourself why you’re looking to move in the first place and what exactly you want to gain.

Think about the big picture

In every scenario it pays to think of the bigger picture: envision where you want to be in five years and what path you think you need to take in order to get there. Be open to change and the possibility that your plans and aspirations will evolve as your career journey develops. Remember that you are constantly building your CV and that every move you make is adding to the story of who you are as a communications professional.

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Author: Jessica Smith

Jessica is an experienced healthcare communications recruitment consultant with expertise covering mid-level to c-suite opportunities across healthcare PR, healthcare advertising, medical communications, and medical education.

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