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5 Simple Steps To A Great Internal Job Change

David Law

Tue, 30 Jul, 2019

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 4 minutes

Bored of working the same job for a long time? An adventurous spirit in want of new territories to discover? Simply eyeing an open position in a different successful team in your company? Whatever your motivations for wanting a job move inside your company, this is the place for you. 


Changing your career goals, interests, and ambitions as time passes is natural. You don’t need to have everything figured out from the get-go! In this simple guide, we’ll go over the 5 key steps to moving positions inside a company. 


When we’re through, you’ll be ready to act. Still interested?


1. Start by choosing right.


When interviewing for a position you want, it’s all too easy to focus on good presentation and correct answers, all while forgetting the interview is a two-way street. You should be making sure the company is the right fit for your career path.


This becomes even more important if you already know an internal job move is something you’d like to attempt. The truth is that some companies are not interested in the benefits of advancing the careers of their employees inside the organisation. You have to find one that is!


The best course of action is to ask honest, straightforward questions that reveal the company’s attitude towards internal moves. Some good ideas:


  • Do you offer further training or learning opportunities? Do you use a mentorship system?

  • Is this position oriented towards another one? How does it function within the team and company dynamics?

  • Have people in this team or a similar one made an internal job move recently?


Remember that internal job moves are actually a good thing for companies, as an external hiring process takes a toll in both time and money. Before committing to a company, make sure they share this view and can prove it with examples.


2. Be informed.


Do you want to move because of genuine interest? Or is it just a wish fuelled by a ‘grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side’ delusion? Before you start turning the organisational cogs to make an internal job move, you have to be sure you understand what the new position entails and whether you’ll really enjoy it.


Try researching in your daily life at the company. When you collaborate with the members of the team you want to go to, how do they perform? Are they visibly stressed? What do they say about their team environment?


It’s a good idea to build relationships with the people on your goal team. Can you be friendly with them? Do you feel you can work with the manager’s style? Get as much information on the role and the team as you can. 


You still have another advantage over potential external candidates for the role: you can try out working with them before the move. How? Figure what projects they’ve got going on— perhaps your skills can be useful in a collaboration. This means that both parties get a good feel of what working together is like. 


3. Talk to your manager.


Your manager is the person in the company who knows the most about your strengths, weaknesses, and big moments. They can also be your biggest supporter in the process of moving to a new position internally. 


Your manager can prepare you for the application and interviewing process as well as give you their recommendation (a great plus to secure the position!). Ideally, you should have a good working relationship with your manager. But, even if you don’t, telling them first is good etiquette.


4. Test the waters.


After talking to your current manager but before making a formal application, you should have a chat with your (potential) future manager. You don’t want to ruin your chances of a job move or a promotion by acting too fast or disregarding red flags. 


Hopefully, by this point, you’ll have collaborated with your future manager and their team. You know that you’re a good fit— but do they agree with you?


Set up a casual meeting to talk about whether you’d work well with the team in this particular role. Make sure they know how passionate you are about this position but also listen to what they have to say. If they express doubts, take them seriously and try to work through them together. Also, pay attention to their communication style and the goals they’re setting for the team at this time: is this job move right for your career?


Both of you still think this is the perfect role for you? Great! Ask your potential future manager to explain what they’ll be looking for in the more formal interview process, even if they won’t be directly involved with it. Their experienced tips and ideas could still prove invaluable.


5. Make the leap!


After all is said and done, it boils down to this: are you ready to make a move? If the answer is yes, then gather up your boldness and take action. Transitioning into a different job with new tasks and responsibilities is always going to be scary— that it’s within the company makes no difference. 


But nothing worth getting is ever easy. Focus on staying motivated and on communicating openly and honestly to your (current and future) managers and colleagues. Follow this tried and true guide to a successful internal job change and you will be discovering new passions in no time. Here’s to unexplored territory!


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