Search
Advice » Job Hunt Strategy» Career Assessment » When to Target a Lower Positi ...
When to Target a Lower Position

When to Target a Lower Position

Does it ever make sense to take a step down the career ladder? If you can get past that nagging, inborn sense that "going lower" can only be a sign of downward career mobility, the answer is yes. Taking a lesser position can help move your career forward if the job fits into a larger long-term plan.

Read on to find out when a lower position might make sense, and how you can make such a transition successfully.

Know Why

What could drive you to consider a lower position? Here are some common circumstances:

  • Necessity: Economic conditions, your financial situation and lack of other alternatives may necessitate taking the best available option -- even if it's a step down. There's no shame in this, but be honest about how you got into this situation in the first place. I see too many people making this kind of career decision out of what was avoidable necessity. They were forced to take a lower-level job, because they didn't take charge of their careers. Do what you have to do, but learn from it.
     
  • To Change Careers: This is a completely valid reason to take a lower position, but remember: Changing professions doesn't automatically mean you start at the bottom. Look for transferable skills or specialized knowledge that could allow you to slide into something above an entry-level role. Also, changing industries is not the same as changing professions. When you change industries but not functions, target a lateral position, not a lower one. For example, a finance manager in a software company can occupy the same role in a biotech company.
     
  • To Broaden Your Horizons: A lower position in a different department can provide new experiences and enrich your career. But as with any career decision, think about the fit, your ability to be successful and how such a move figures into your larger career plan.
     
  • To Find Another Way to Advance: Imagine climbing a mountain and reaching a point where the route is blocked or requires climbing skill beyond your ability to pass it. You can give up or make a tactical decision to go back down a bit to look for another route up. Taking the right lower position can be a smart tactical move if you believe you can be successful in the lower role and know there's a defined path on which you can continue your ascent.

Sell Yourself

Once you've determined why taking a step down makes sense, prepare to sell yourself hard. You'll be up against more junior candidates, so you'll need to overcome the hiring manager's perceptions that you are overqualified and will get bored and leave.

To convince him otherwise, express a positive, compelling reason you want the job. For example: "I want to build a career in customer service. This job would allow me to apply what I know already and also develop best-practice skills starting from the operating level, which would help serve your customers better."

Avoid sending negative messages. In all of your communications, demonstrate you:

  • Possess the energy and enthusiasm to do the job and the flexibility, ability and willingness to learn quickly.
     
  • Will bring more value to the role based on your work experience than an untested junior candidate.
     
  • Will be content to do the job you are hired for and won't be making waves three months after you start about moving up.
     
  • Understand promotions will be based on merit.

In situations like this, it's human nature to feel superior to your junior coworkers. But acting superior will only torpedo your plans. Be mindful of your own development in the role, and manage your own performance. If you remember that the lower position is just one step in a long-term career strategy, you will perform well and with purpose.

[Ian Christie founded BoldCareer.com to help individuals build bold, fulfilling careers and help organizations attract, develop and retain talent. A career coach, consultant, three-time entrepreneur, former senior director at Monster and former retained executive search consultant, Ian is an expert in the fields of careers and recruitment. He believes that career management is a central theme to both personal and organizational effectiveness. BoldCareer.com offers career services to companies and individuals as well as free career resources.]

Articles in This Feature:

Latest Jobs

Randstad
Posted: 04/24/2014
Marietta, GA, 30062
Enterprise
Posted: 04/24/2014
Houston, TX
Randstad
Posted: 04/24/2014
Fenton, MO, 63099
Smart Choice Payments
Posted: 04/24/2014
Middletown, CT, 06457
North American Processing Solutions
Posted: 04/24/2014
Dallas, TX, 75201

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.1.40.6-202
eTrustLogo