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Knowing When To Make Your Move On the Corporate Ladder?

James Powell

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Itís been said over and over, you must keep your career progressive. Always move forward. Higher positions bring more money for you and your family. Never take a demotion. So youíve heard all these concepts before, but you find yourself topped out. Well a new strategy may be necessary. Sometimes taking a step back to make two steps forward in the future is not a bad idea. It is certainly something to consider.

These days, more and more people are changing industries to branch out or just to move up the corporate ladder to the next position in their career. Also, some people find themselves with little upward mobility in their career. It is times like these that are crucial to getting into the job you want. There are times it is completely acceptable to take a little less responsibility or money for the long-term greater good of your career.

Watch for Industry Changes

Industry changes can have a dramatic impact on where career will be in the future. In your career it may be time to quit moving straight ahead and start taking control of the game when you can see nothing directly ahead of you will improve your current position.

It is time to make this move, when you are reading about the job you have currently becoming obsolete or if you see the company shifting directions in terms of stock price or new legislation making it a little more difficult to see a future. A good example of this would be if you were in an industry that relied heavily on telemarketing when the National Do Not Call List started. Dramatic government regulations, industry change or revenue decreases can give a clear signal to change your career. The future prospects within that industry changed overnight and you have to be aware to make the best choices for your new revised career path.

Nowhere Else To Go

You've hit the ceiling of your career progression. You are Vice President of your organization and the President is also on the Board of Directors and doesn't seem as though he'll be leaving. This may signal you to look for a position in another company or even within a new industry if you feel like you've topped out. An alternative may be to think of jobs you've seen throughout your career and always wished you'd have chosen. So use your personal network to get an interview and tweak your resume to focus mostly on the information key to the new job. For example, you've been in manufacturing sales but now want to move into financial sales. You'd want to highlight on your resume your strong sales experience and mention the financials you had to do also (even if in a small capacity) to demonstrate your transferable knowledge.

Broadening Your Perspective

You've always wanted to take a chance in XYZ industry and your current industry seems to be headed south. Now is a great time to get out there and see what other opportunities await you. You've been in the same business your entire life and have always wanted to be President of the Bank. Well that is simply not going to be the case if you don't get out there and make a career change to broaden your perspective. Make sure that your resume is in functional format to demonstrate your skills rather than titles and companies and take a swing. See if working in the banking environment is what you think it is. You may find that you already had the perfect job or it may be one of the best decisions you've ever made.

Making the Change

So now you are sure you are making a change. Now what should you consider? Well your resume layout will be different. Instead of listing where you've worked and the titles of companies with your responsibilities, you will probably look at a hybrid layout or functional format. These layouts allow you to set the tone of the resume in a different light. Rather than ABC Bank - Financial Sales Representative, you can instead take from that same information and lay out skill sets on your resume that will apply to a sales job outside of banking, such as Sales/Business Development, Client Relations, etc. This will allow you to break your jobs into areas of interest of the next employer rather than only speaking to a banking environment.

So you get the resume where it needs to be, now time for the interview. SELL YOURSELF!! You will get questions that may stump you. For example, they may say, "I see you have sales background but it is only in banking, how do you feel you would be an asset within a pharmaceutical sales environment?" Your answer selling yourself may be something like this, "I am an excellent salesperson. Not only did I sell bank services to our customers, but cross-sold customers on many financial products. I also would turn a person with a customer service question into a sale for various bank products."

Remember that changing your future career begins with changing your present career. In most circumstances this can cause a decrease in salary, benefits and responsibilities, but long term it will also allow you to meet your long term goals of the same items that you will miss in the short term.


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I must admit this was beyond my expectations. I am obviously impressed.

Thank you.