How to Execute an Internal Job Move Perfectly

Career, Career Advice, Career Tips, Job, Job Interview, Resume

When you are ready to pursue a new job, there are a lot of benefits to applying internally.  The most obvious benefit can be summed up as Goodwill.

Goodwill is the value attached to all the good faith you have earned with your company.  It is the trust you have earned, the connections you have made, the company’s proprietary internal systems you’ve learned.  All of this makes you more effective and more valuable to your company.

Know Your Plan

Before beginning the search or application process, you should have created your short and long term career map.  I go into how to do that here.  Whatever position that you are considering should align with your career map.

When you begin interviewing for new positions, the first thing a recruiter will ask you is why you are leaving your current position.  This question is even more important when looking internally.

It is ok to look for a new position in another group, but the new role needs to help drive your career forward.  Switching to a new team because of a negative reason, aka, a problem with your current team, is a red flag to a new manager.  An internal hiring manager will have access to your previous performance reviews and may speak directly to your current manager.

Internal job moves are not afforded the same privacy as an external search.  You need to be comfortable enough with your reason for leaving to be able to discuss it with your current manager.  Having this new position as part of a long-term career goal will provide you with all the reasons you need.

Know Your Target

So the job that you are pursuing is on your career map…but are you ready for it?  You should be able to check off at least 70% of the job requirements on the job description.  If not, you’re not ready for this move.

However, that does not mean that you should not apply for it.  Expressing interest in a role that is firmly in your career map shows that you’re ambitious.

Even if you do not get it, the effort tells your current manager that you’re ready for more responsibility.

Preparing for the Transition


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There are a number of steps you should take to prepare for a move into a new position.  The first thing you should do is make sure that this is the right position for you.

The most effective way to do this is through an informal interview. Reach out to someone who is in the position or department that you are interested in joining.  Set up a meeting and prepare a set of questions to ask them about their job and their background.

Understanding the background of somebody already working there gives you an idea of the types of people working in those positions.  Also, hearing from somebody already doing the work tells you what to expect.

Another even less formal approach is to shadow this person while they are working.  Doing a job shadow gives you a chance to see what your target job is on a daily basis.  This “Life in the day” experience is the closest many people get to experiencing the position itself.

You will know what skills you need to sharpen to qualify for the role. Getting this advanced look gives you time to acquire or improve on any necessary skills so you can be competitive when the time comes to apply.

Mold Your Resume

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As always, you want to begin creating this resume based on your existing resume that has already been perfected. Follow my guidance here.  However, what is different now so the fact that you know your target audience.

When you are tailoring your resume to an internal position, you can be more specific. The internal hiring manager is going to be familiar with the systems you have used.  They are familiar with projects that you’ve worked on in the past.

Adding more specificity to your resume for these internal postings will give you an advantage over external candidates.  Your experience will likely be more relevant than the external candidates.

So, to recap

  1. Know your plan
  2. Know your target
  3. Prepare for the transition
  4. Update your resume appropriately

There are many benefits to applying to an internal job, but ensuring that you execute it correctly can make all the difference.

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