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Are Your Sights Set on an Internal Position?

If you have the goal of moving to a new position internally, you have some work ahead of you—work that could prove to be very rewarding! Applying to a role that’s opened up within your company requires as much professionalism and tact, if not more, as applying to a role at another company during a job search. But if you’re already comfortable with your company and happy with its culture, obtaining another position within it could be a great move for you, especially if you’re looking to gain new responsibilities and learn new skills. So to best prepare yourself for the process, take a look at the following best practices of applying to an internal position:

Before Applying

You’re likely to find the job on your company’s website or, perhaps, hear about it through the grapevine. Once you’ve been made aware of the opening, first take some time to familiarize yourself with it, as you would with a job posting from another company. It’s important that you only apply if you are absolutely positive you will be happy and productive in the role; you don’t want to make a move that could jeopardize your employer’s faith in your judgment.

Then schedule a meeting with your current supervisor. You may feel as if you want to apply to the job before notifying your current boss, but it’s important to first discuss the situation so that it doesn’t seem like you’re hiding anything. Emphasize that you enjoy your current position and are simply looking to advance within the company, and you feel this new position would give you the opportunity to do so. Since there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the role, you want to make sure you’re in good standing with your current supervisor should you still continue to work together.

The Application Process

Though you already have plenty of contacts within the company, you’ll typically have to apply to the position as anyone else has to. However, don’t take the process for granted because of your advantage. You’ll still need a stellar resume, cover letter, and good references to pull off an impressive application.

The good news here is that you can (and should) tailor your materials to reflect your specific accomplishments. This is easier to do when applying to an internal position since you won’t have to take up room with introductions and other preliminary information that your current workplace already has. You will, however, have to make a case for why  you should be transferred from one position or department to another. For example, try outlining a couple of major projects you spearheaded that translate well into the role you’re applying for in your cover letter.

The Interview

The interview for an internal position is likely to be slightly different than for one elsewhere. Still, you should treat it as seriously and with as much professional tact as you would an external interview. Expect to be asked about your current position, why you want to leave it, and why you’re choosing to move around within the company rather than the more traditional route of applying elsewhere. There will be typical questions as well as those geared specifically toward your role within the company.

As with every interview, honesty is the best policy—let the interviewer know that you’re looking for the added responsibilities, a change of scenery, or whatever it is you’re aiming for. Just be sure to not focus solely on making more money and definitely do not speak negatively about your current team or supervisor. It’s worth restating: you may not get this position and will still have to work with the same group of people! It’s always your best bet to avoid burning bridges, anyway, since you’ll be working in the same company regardless.

The Results

If you do get turned down, make sure not to take it personally: the hiring manager’s reasons could range from wanting to bring in new talent to simply needing someone with other skills. The best thing you can do for yourself in this position is to ask openly what the reason was for you not obtaining the position. That way, you can work on those points for the future, and know how to handle such an interview next time. If you do get the position, thank all involved parties appropriately and be sure to apply yourself in the position to show you were the right choice.

Good luck and happy interviewing!

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