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Horizontal And Vertical Career Development

November 24 2017

Horizontal And Vertical Career Development As a professional, you should never be satisfied in your career. Whether it’s something big like obtaining a certification or something smaller like trying to correct your daily deficiencies, it’s important to want to continually develop your career. What exactly does it mean to develop your career, though? That question boils down to horizontal career development and vertical career development. 

Horizontal Career Development 


If you focus on horizontal career development, you will learn many new things along the way. You’ll gain experience in many different fields, and expand your professional networks. Horizontal career development promotes creative thinking and broad learning. You’ll create intellectual value for yourself by focusing on horizontal career development. However, you’ll likely suffer in pay and must accept not having a routine.  


Vertical Career Development 


If you focus on vertical career development, you will solely be focused on gaining a lot of experience in one position or department. You will see the financial gain as you move up the corporate chain, but you will also be extremely limited in the future as you only have experience in one department. It’s easy to grow bored or lack a sense of challenge when focusing on vertical career development.  


The Ideal Development 


Ideally, you’d like for your career development to be a hybrid of horizontal and vertical development. Imagine vertical development as taking a ladder straight up, while horizontal development is walking forward. The best development would be that of a staircase or an escalator – one in which you were moving both vertically AND horizontally. You don’t want to be entry-level in many different positions, but you also don’t want a career path in which you don’t gain any value. Finding this fine-line is the ever-important part of career development, and is the challenge many professionals face.