Career Rotation vs. Progression

Application Documents Career Rotation vs. Progression


Candidates always want to show improvement on their resumes in the months leading up to their applications. For those working in industry or rival consulting firms, showing leadership and career development is crucial. This podcast explains that career rotation, a lateral move at the same pay grade, is rarely a good idea unless it takes you to a part of the business where you can show leadership in solving a major problem. Career progression, a promotion to a new pay grade, always looks good on a resume because it demonstrates you are mastering your functional domain. It is better to stay in a role and achieve results than rotating for a better title.

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4 responses to Career Rotation vs. Progression

  1. Hello William,

    I hope you are well and thanks for the question.

    The honest answer is that I just cannot know with the information you have provided. Even if the start-up title and responsibilities are a progression, once you get there and start working you may ending up doing work that, once we interrogate them in an interview, make us realize it was not a progression.

    So titles here are less important, but actually doing things that are a progression. That said, I think given the nature of the UK public medical program you would be hard pressed to be promoted faster than allowed and do things outside of your mandate. I see no value in just moving to the next stage of the doctor journey. But only when viewed from a consulting perspective. There may be value to do it if you had other goals.

    On the start-up, you never can tell what will happen. Start-ups always change. You may be hired for one role but end up doing something else. Start-ups teach little so you need to be able to be self-motivated to hit the ground running. In other words, you need to have something to offer. You can learn more about this in “Building a Digital Luxury Brand” and “Building an Electric Car.”

    My final piece of advice is that if you are good, you will eventually succeed no matter where you go. So do not stress about it too much. Here are four prime examples: Irina, Houda, Sanda & Kris.

    Or Assel who was 5 years away on maternity leave before getting into McKinsey.


  2. Hi Michael,

    I am a 27 year old medical graduate with almost 3 years of experience working as a public sector doctor in the UK. I have two ongoing job applications, one for a medical training post, and the other for a health startup. In the startup role, I would be in a non-clinical role, but making use of my prior medical experience in a for-profit sector.

    I have not enjoyed working as a doctor, so my instinct would be to take the startup job if offered, but not if recruiters saw it as a lack of progression. My problem is that they are different jobs with different employers, so I am unsure whether it would represent a promotion as you describe it. Could you offer any advice?

    Many thanks,


  3. Hi Meisi,

    Generally speaking, if you have an undergraduate degree with 3 years experience but still are young enough, between 25 and 28 to do an MBA, you are not considered an experienced hire.

    However, if you have an undergraduate degree but have been promoted to a role where you normally need an MBA, even though you do not have an MBA, you are considered an experienced hire. For example, an undergrad being promoted to an investment banking associate is such an example.

    You may be 26, may not have an MBA, but you are serving in a senior role.

    If you do not fit into the group above, then assume if you have been in the role for 4 years onward you are considered senior.


  4. At what point in one’s career would one be considered “senior” and a career rotation without progression is considered harmful? Say 5 years into the job? 10 years?

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