Career paths are no longer about climbing a career ladder. A spider web or lattice career is a pathway that is vertical, horizontal and diagonal. Taking on cross-functional assignments or stretch projects allows you to grow your career by moving across the company.
Doing stints in different areas is critical to developing leadership skills needed in today’s complex organizations. Not only does it develop needed skills, it can help keep you engaged and grow your career without having to job-hop to another employer.
Why think of your career as a spider web?
A career web or lattice gives you opportunity to take on new challenges and explore other roles. This is a career strategy being adopted by more people as a way to showcase their value to the organization. Moving around an organization gives you different perspectives of how each department functions together and increases your value.
Companies are realizing that it takes more than technical expertise to succeed in a role; you need soft skills such as relationship building, teamwork, communication, problem solving skills and agility. The most talented people have skills that can be deployed elsewhere given the right opportunity. Many managers hold on to their best people by talent hoarding but that only works in the short term. Today’s employees are purpose driven and eager for new challenges.
6 Ways to Build Your Career Web
Check out internal opportunities
Your company likely posts internal job opportunities. Review these postings to determine what transferable skills you may have to offer. Let’s say you are in sales and you see an opportunity to move into marketing. Skills such as communication, relationship building and persuasive selling will all serve you well. The technical aspects of marketing such as analytics can be learned on the job.
Make your intentions known
Let your manager and co-workers know you are eager to learn new things. A good manager supports the development of their people and will actively support career progression. Volunteer to take on projects outside of your direct role. This could include mentoring a junior colleague or taking on a project no one else wants and crushing it!
Assess your skills gap
Take stock of your accomplishments and skills. List out what are you best at, what do you love doing?
Create a second list of the skills and education needed to succeed in a role you are interested in taking on. Compare the two lists to see how they match up; assess what current skills are transferable to a new career and what skills you need to develop.
Actively work on the skills you may be missing. You may find that you need to go to school to get a specific certification or credential. Your current employer may even reimburse you for that. Check out these free resources to upskill.
Find a mentor
Seek out a mentor or someone in your company who can help you develop other skills such as communication or who can introduce you to other people to expand your network.
Do the Two Step
Depending on how “big” your skills gap is, you may need to do the two step. That is, take on a role that gets you closer to the one you want. This will add credibility and show your determination.
This article is part of our Career Moves series; advice and guidance to help you achieve your career aspirations.
Arche helps people architect, navigate and advance their career path with expert advice and tools to support your job search, interview preparation, professional branding, salary negotiations, and career advancement.
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