How to Request a Lateral Job Move in Your Company
A lateral move is a career positioning tactic. It occurs when an employee changes to an equivalent job in an organization, typically for similar pay and a job title at the same level. It’s a sideways move, not a promotion.
Until the last half-dozen years, the good life in the corporate world was achieved with only one direction: up. Ambitious people went “up or out.” Now that lateral movement has become a viable career tactic, you can say that “over joins up.” The ladder of yesteryear has morphed into a lattice.
The lateral tactic has special advantages for middle managers. A manager who’s had cross-training has a leg up on understanding how multiple departments function and interact with each other and is primed for top management.
What’s in a lateral move for you? The following quartet of situations unveils some of the most popular reasons:
You require additional skills for your target position and need a “feeder” job to beef up your qualifications.
Your work is being outsourced, but you want to remain in the company.
You’re in school and can’t handle the stress of a promotion at this time.
You’re at war with your boss and seek an escape.
Before writing your statement asking for a lateral slot, hop online to read the excellent article “How to Make a Smart Lateral Career Move,” by Jena McGregor, Fortune Management.
Right things to say in a lateral job move request
Keep the following points in mind when preparing your statement:
Show appreciation for what the company has done for you already. Mention specific considerations, kind acts, and your promotions.
Explain why you’re applying for a lateral position. Perhaps you’re preparing for future career progression and you’ll be even more valuable to your company after you hone your talent package in the XYZ function.
Mention your competencies and skills that will be lost to the company if you’re forced to work for another company: “My performance reviews have recognized my accomplishments and expertise in [list in bullet form]. I really want to continue my record of job excellence within this company.”
If your reason for a lateral move in another locale is actually a personal transfer request (perhaps a member in your family is ill, and the treatment center is in a city where your company also has a facility, or your spouse has been transferred to another locale), say so and offer a written plan for the transition.
Close with a simple assurance that you recognize that the company would be doing you a favor:
You have known me to be conscientious and reliable. I hope we can work together to effect a smooth transition that meets both of our needs. Thank you for your consideration.
Wrong thing to say in a lateral job move request
In explaining your itch to switch sideways, don’t focus on what you want — keep the focus on what the company wants.