Career advice

How to apply for an internal job posting with your current employer

You’ve seen a job posting for a position that would allow you to take your career to the next level. That’s great. The only tricky part is that it’s a job at the company where you already work. Normally, you wouldn’t mention anything to your current boss about looking for a new job until you had already been hired. You don’t want to put the job you have now at risk until you have successfully lined up the new one.

That isn’t an option with an internal position. So, how do you go about applying for a new job within your same company?

Before you apply

Assess your situation. Applying for an internal position offers you some advantages for getting hired for the job, but it comes with a few pitfalls to be wary of as well. Here are a couple of things to consider.

How long have you been in your current role? Your boss hired you for the job that you have now. Hiring can be expensive and time-consuming, so having put in the work of recruiting you, your boss is hoping that you will stay in your position for long enough to make it worth the effort. The hiring manager for the position you would like to jump to is similarly hoping for a candidate who can commit to the role.

If you have been at your current job for less than six months, looking to move internally could upset your current boss and give your potential new one the impression that you are a job hopper.

Before applying for another job within your company, you should have been in your present position for long enough to develop good working relationships with your manager and colleagues and prove that you have the ability to take on more responsibility.

How are your performance reviews? If you are getting poor performance reviews or have a negative relationship with your boss, it is natural to want to jump ship. However, in those scenarios, an internal position is not likely to be your best option. The hiring manager for the new position will certainly speak with your current manager before hiring you, and if there are any red flags about your work, you won’t be offered the job.

On the other hand, if you have been working for the company for close to a year or more, you have proven yourself to be a successful employee, and you have a good relationship with your manager, an internal job posting could be your next career move.

Talk to your boss

You should tell your boss that you wish to apply for the internal job. Since the hiring manager will necessarily speak to your boss before considering you, it is better that your manager hear it from you first. This can turn them into an ally for your cause rather than having them feel blindsided by the news and perhaps even resentful that you did not talk to them first.

While your boss may be disappointed to lose you on their team, and not overly happy about the prospect of having to replace you, good managers understand that people want to grow in their careers. They support their teams as they prepare to take their next steps up the ladder.

Of course, you want the new job because it is a better position, but you should still frame your discussions with your boss and anyone else from the organization about how your move benefits the company. Just like when applying for any job, the message you need to communicate is what is in it for them – not what is best for you personally.

There are numerous advantages to making an internal hire. You will still be with the company to help with a smooth transition for whoever takes over the role you are exiting. You will be there to answer questions and help with training.

The company doesn’t have to spend a great deal of time onboarding you in the new job since you are already familiar with the policies, products, and services. Plus, the new hiring manager is getting a known candidate. Many companies place a high value on staff referrals for new hires. There is less risk involved in hiring a candidate that someone you know can vouch for. An internal hire with a solid reputation at the company is a step up even from this.

How to apply

Talk to HR or the hiring manager. After you’ve spoken with your boss, you should also talk to the person responsible for doing the hiring for the position. Let them know that you are interested in the role and planning to apply. Make your elevator pitch, and give them a brief summary of why you think you’d be a great fit for it.

Customize your resume. You should tailor your resume for every job you apply for, and an internal position with your current employer is no exception. The last time you used your resume was likely for the job you have now. It worked. You were hired. Now update it for the new position. You have inside knowledge of how the company works and what the challenges are. This gives you a distinct advantage over any external candidates who might be applying for the job. Show how you have the skills and experience necessary to be a greater asset to the organization in the new role.

Prepare for the job interview. Because you already work for the company, the interview will likely be a little different. It will be less focused on your background and more concentrated on your career goals and fitness for the job. The hiring manager won’t want to hire someone who is likely to jump ship on them as you are doing with your current boss. You should prepare to explain how this position aligns with your ambitions, so you will be motivated to stay in it for some time, work hard and be successful at it. You should also demonstrate that you understand the greater challenges of the position over your previous job and that you have the abilities to seamlessly step into the higher role.

Your internal knowledge of the company also empowers you to ask smart questions about upcoming projects and plans that other candidates would not be aware of.

Compile a list of references. A hiring manager for an internal role may not ask you for references, but you should be prepared in case they do. Unlike most times when changing jobs, you can use your current boss, since they already know you are applying for the job. You should consider having a reference from outside of the organization as well. Companies sometimes value external hires over existing staff because they want the team to benefit from the fresh perspective that a new person can bring in. Using references from other places you have worked demonstrates that you also have greater industry experience than just at the company where you currently work.

Having positive relationships within the company, a boss who is on your side, a well-written, relevant resume, and a prepared list of references gives you plenty of advantages when trying to be hired for an internal position. Plus, you already know the company culture and you must enjoy working there, otherwise you’d be looking for positions elsewhere. So, landing that next step up the ladder with your current employer can be a great career move.

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