Sometimes the perfect next step can be right in front of you, in the place where you already work. But how do you apply for an internal position without burning any bridges?
This decision can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you’re probably a good cultural fit as you’re already with the company and possess valuable knowledge of the business. You might even have the advantage of knowing why the role has become available, and what the hiring manager is looking for. But on the other hand, there may be some office dynamics you have to navigate and potentially awkward situations you might find yourself in.
So what are the key things to consider and do when gunning for an internal position? Career Consultant Leah Lambart, of Relaunch Me, shares her tips.
- Familiarise yourself with your workplace’s internal recruitment policy. To avoid getting yourself into a compromising situation, find out the company’s protocol. There may be a process you need to follow which includes notifying your current manager and asking them to speak with the hiring manager, Lambart says. “You don’t want to upset your current hiring manager by going behind their back – especially if you’re not successful and still have to work with them.”
- Take advantage of your insider status. As a current employee, you’re in a unique position to get an in-depth understanding of what the hiring manager is looking for, so use it to your advantage, says Lambart. Speak to others in the team or to human resources to ascertain how you meet the criteria. “You probably already know the hiring manager and members of the team you would be joining, which should give you a good indication as to whether you would be the right fit for the team.”
- Be professional and prepare a proper application. “You should always treat an internal application the same way you would an external one,” Lambart says. In other words: prepare a tailored cover letter and resume, using the information you gathered from talking to the hiring manager or members of the team to ensure it includes the key skills and attributes needed for the role. “You should also include recent achievements from your current role that highlight your ability to do the job.”
- Don’t get blindsided by the familiarity of the interview panel. “The interview can be the trickiest part of applying for an internal role, particularly if you already know the recruitment panel,” says Lambart. “Don’t let your guard down and treat it as a casual chat. Be on time, dress professionally and provide clear and concise responses to demonstrate your competency.”
Just because you work for the same company doesn't mean the panel knows what you're capable of, so don't make any assumptions and stay on top of your game.
- Be upfront with your coworkers if you get the job. Avoid any awkward office politics by being honest with your coworkers. “If you are successful in obtaining the role then you may soon be managing colleagues who have always been your peers,” explains Lambart. “Tell them that you feel a bit uncomfortable moving into a management role, but that you believe you have the skills to do the job well and that you would appreciate their support as you transition into the role.”
At the end of the day, if an internal position arises that sounds good to you, you should go for it. It could be your time to shine, and with the right preparation, application, and communication, you could make it happen.
Application for internal job positions
Just because you are an internal candidate for a new job in your company doesn't mean you're a shoo-in.
Working within a large organization provides many advantages. One of the pros is that internal job opportunities arise from time to time, so employees don't even have to leave the building to advance their careers.
But it's easy to trip up when applying for an internal job. Why? One of the main problems is that many employees approach internal job offerings too casually. It's important to remember that similar rules and standards are in place when applying for any job, whether inside or outside a company.
Applying from within doesn't always necessarily give you an "in." The bottom line is you're trying to get a new job, and you need to use every professional tactic you can to get it. Follow these tips to help you get in from the inside.
Don't apply for every available position
You'll never be taken seriously if you apply each time a position opens. Clarify your reasons for applying for a specific job. If the opportunity is in a department in which you wish your career to grow, or if the position will allow you to expand your knowledge in a particular area, make it known.
Update your resume
Many internal candidates don't update their resumes, assuming that it's all in the family and the new internal position is merely an extension of their current one. Make sure your resume includes all the achievements you've earned since joining the organization.
Write a customized cover letter
What if you've done work for the manager who needs a new assistant, and he already knows you're terrific? There are still things the manager doesn't know about you. A cover letter should begin, "I appreciate the opportunity to apply for the XYZ position. Let me tell you why I am a good fit for the job."
Sound a bit formal? That's the idea. No matter how often you've talked to the person you're applying to, or how well he may know you, you want to use the application process as an opportunity to show how professional you are. It's quite possible the new potential boss only sees you as Sally, and not as Sally the super assistant, because he doesn't know about your specialized training, the education you're currently pursuing or your past work experience. When writing a cover letter for an internal position, be sure to expand on what makes you such a natural fit for the position: You're already familiar with the company's culture, there would be less onboarding time needed for things like orientation and paperwork, you would adhere to the same high standards that are currently expected of you, you would welcome the opportunity to build upon your success and continue your career at the company, et cetera. At the same time, you want to highlight the skills that would make you a valuable addition to that person's team—just as you would in a resume for an outside company.
Let your current boss know you're applying for the job
While you may not want your current boss to know you're seeking a new opportunity in the company, he will find out quickly if you become a candidate. Bosses don't like to be in the dark about what their employees are up to, so don't keep them there. Be honest about your reasons for applying for another position, and see if he would be willing to put in a good word for you.
Construct an internal support system
If you don't know the manager you're hoping to work for, get other people you know in common to promote you.
Write a thank-you letter after the interview
Remember it's still a job interview, and all the regular courtesies apply, including sending an interview thank-you letter.
Didn't get the job?
Now is a good time to find out why. Try to get some feedback from HR. Turn the rejection into an opportunity by getting whatever skills you need so that the next time you apply for a similar job, you'll be the winning candidate.
In the meantime, you should look for jobs outside of your current company. you can start by joining Monster today. As a member, you can get upload your resume, so recruiters, searching our database every day, can find good job candidates just like you.