Picture this: you worked hard, earned the promotion you were aiming for, and then … you quit. Yes, you’ve read that correctly. Nowadays, a promotion can often signal a job shift, with 29% of people choosing to move on from their current roles within a month of receiving a promotion, often in pursuit of a better-paying position at a different company, according to the ADP Research Institute.
The trend of job-hunting post-promotion has been gaining traction—and it’s a topic we’ll explore in this article. Together with Ángela-Jo Touza-Medina, career mentor, consultant, and founder of intellegō Consulting Services, we’ll take a closer look at why considering a job change after a promotion can be a wise move, how to navigate it if it’s something you’re planning to do, and what you should be vigilant about.
ADP’s research suggests that a higher salary is the common motivator for job changes after a promotion—but that’s not always the case. “After achieving a promotion, people often find themselves considering seeking a new job for various compelling reasons,” says Touza-Medina. “Promotions serve as indicators of professional growth and development, yet they can also prompt individuals to reassess their career paths and consider new possibilities.”
Here are a couple of reasons for job hunting after a promotion:
- Boosted ambition: “Having your abilities recognized may awaken a desire for more challenging roles and greater personal and professional development.”
- Change of career goals: “Increased expectations that come with promotions can also lead individuals to reconsider their career trajectories, especially if they feel unprepared or unwilling to meet the demands of their new roles.”
- Financial considerations: “Promotions typically include a salary increase—but sometimes it might not meet the employee’s expectations, leading individuals to explore jobs that offer more competitive compensation packages.”
- Company misalignment: “Securing a promotion can often provide employees with a different, more precise perspective on their work-life balance and new facets of the company’s culture they haven’t had access to before.”
Ultimately, the motivations for considering a job change post-promotion are as diverse as the individuals themselves. “Many personal factors like geographical changes, life transitions, or simply a longing for new challenges can also influence the decision to seek a new job,” says Touza-Medina.
Transitioning to a new role following a promotion can be a crucial step in an individual’s personal and professional development. “Many professional skills that come from changing jobs after a promotion can easily translate to personal life and contribute towards becoming a well-rounded and confident individual,” explains Touza-Medina.
If you think about it, switching roles post-promotion requires the ability to refine one’s goals and values, and be able to critically assess their sense of purpose. This demonstrates ambition, a dedication to professional growth, and a willingness to adapt to change—which is a highly valuable skill in today’s dynamic job market where “change management” stands as one of the most sought-after attributes and desired resume buzzwords.
The shift to a new role post-promotion not only affirms the growth and achievements attained in their prior position—it also offers a golden opportunity to tackle new challenges, shoulder even greater responsibilities, and acquire fresh skill sets. “Changing a job after you get promoted to something more challenging provides a plethora of avenues for professional development through an expanded scope of work, which often requires individuals to adapt and acquire new competencies,” says our expert. Is there a better way to effectively and practically show adaptability and resilience?
Furthermore, Touza-Medina emphasizes that the professional benefits of moving into a new role post-promotion—and the way people view such transition—can significantly vary depending on specific industries and sectors. “In tech, which advances at a very rapid pace, individuals are often highly rewarded as it’s by switching jobs often that they stay ahead of the technological curve,” Touza-Medina explains. “Similarly, if you’re a consultant, frequently changing roles is expected as it allows you to expand your skillset and networks. And in healthcare, shifting post-promotion often helps professionals acquire new specialties, familiarize themselves with different medical practices, and stave off burnout.”
Lastly, on a more personal level, transitioning into a new exciting role shortly after getting promoted can significantly bolster individuals’ self-perception and self-esteem by officially reaffirming their abilities.
Undoubtedly, making a career move after a promotion is a decision that requires careful consideration. “Quickly jumping to another perceived ‘better’ role can have its drawbacks,” says Touza-Medina.
First, there’s the ‘grass is always greener on the other side’ factor. “People often tend to presume that any change from their current circumstances will be positive,” says Touza-Medina. This is a perfectly normal human inclination and it’s important to acknowledge it. However, it’s equally vital to maintain a vigilant and realistic perspective regarding the potential benefits of the new role compared to the current one.
Secondly, changing jobs right after promotion may carry the risk of being perceived as a job hopper. “As someone who rewrites and reviews resumes, mentors and coaches individuals on the job hunt, and screens individuals for employment, I would see the desire to change roles without substantial tenure as a big red flag,” Touza-Medina explains. “[At] first glance, it raises concerns about an individual’s commitment and reliability.”
Another challenge of changing jobs post-promotion might be lowered credibility in the new role. “Making a quick jump might not always allow individuals to fully establish their credibility with the newly acquired, more advanced skillset and job title, which is necessary for long-term success in any position,” says Touza-Medina.
To navigate these challenges, striking a balance between seizing growth opportunities and ensuring that career transitions align with long-term goals is imperative. “The best way to deal with the hardships and negative perception of others is by adopting a learner and growth mindset,” she explains.
Leveraging the learner and growth approach in your post-promotion job hunt
Have you recently gotten promoted but decided it’s time to seek a new role at a different company—and you want to avoid any perception of job hopping or career uncertainty? To successfully approach this transition, it’s crucial to frame your journey in a context of consistent growth and a clear career trajectory.
“This involves a thoughtful reflection on your strengths, weaknesses, acquired skills, and areas for improvement in the context of the professional goals you are setting for yourself,” explains Touza-Medina. “The more specific and well-defined your career objectives are, encompassing the responsibilities you’ve undertaken, those you aspire to assume, and the impact you aim to create, the better.”
Once you set clear new professional aspirations and goals, they can serve as a foundation for preparing and navigating various aspects of the job search process—crafting applications, excelling in interviews, and networking effectively.
Touza-Medina also recommends engaging your existing professional network, while searching for a new opportunity post-promotion. “Engage in candid conversations with former supervisors, mentors, colleagues, and other network connections to solicit constructive feedback and better prepare for your next phase of professional growth.”
Lastly, an essential component of the learner and growth mindset is the commitment to continuous learning. “The investment in yourself and your professional growth not only enhances your skill set—making you a more valuable candidate for new positions—but also demonstrates an increased level of accomplishment and a track record of growth, which can be highlighted on your resume,” she says. Not to mention heightened chances of growing your network even more! “Partaking in professional courses or workshops can open up opportunities to expand your network, fostering new connections that can aid in reaching your professional objectives.”
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