Eight Tips for Making Internal Job Moves

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I have been at Global Knowledge about eight and a half years and have had eight different roles. Which made me think, “Why have I been able to change jobs so often?” To begin with I am the type of person who likes to look at the big picture and understand what people do. How do things come together? How do the pieces fit? Who does what and why? I am a believer in collaboration so I try to meet with people to understand their role. Sometimes knowing who to go to for help is the most important thing in the process of trying to accomplish something.

In the process of doing that you meet people and can let them know what you do so if they need something they can come to you for help, a two way street. You want to be known as the person who can help out, not the one who is always asking for help. A positive attitude does not hurt. I am not saying be the do nothing but chit chat with people (I am not a small talk fan) but a smile and head nod go a long way.

Moving jobs internally can be much different from an external move, so here are eight tips from my eight positions in eight years:

  1. Be good at your current job. This should go without saying but I have seen people who are not good at what they do apply for new internal jobs. Work smart and be productive. Actions speak louder than words and sometimes people get annoyed with people bragging on themselves.
  2. A good, positive reputation goes a long way, especially when you are looking to change jobs within a company. The hiring manager may not know you personally, but if he/she has heard good things about you it may help you get your foot in the door. 
  3. Think about what you are applying for. There are people that apply for every single job posting. You can tell they hate what they are doing and will apply for anything just to get out of their current role. If you are unhappy where you are it does not do you any favors to complain to people about it, especially in an interview. Explain why you would be a good fit for the job you want. Talk about what you can add to the team.
  4. Gather information about the job you are applying for. Take advantage that you are internal and may know people who do or have done the job you want. Be respectful of their time, talk with them to gather information about the job to see if it is a good fit for you, what you will need to know, and make sure you understand all of the responsibilities. This also shows that you cared to take the time to do this on your own. 
  5. Keep your current manager in the loop when looking at something else. I know this may not always work (depending on the kind of relationship you have with your manager) but I find it helpful. I do not want the word to get to my manager before I have the chance to talk to him/her and let them know I am looking at a different role and the reasons why. 
  6. When interviewing for the job, dress better than you normally would. Even though you are an internal candidate, it shows you are respectful of the interview process. Prepare for the interview as you would for an external job and make sure your resume is the best that it can be. Keep in mind they may be interviewing outside candidates and you do not want to assume you have an advantage because you are an internal applicant.
  7. Try to be super helpful in training the person taking your current spot. There is a fine balance between letting it go so your replacement can take control and dropping it like a hot potato. I admit that I still get questions from my last two roles, I look at it as an opportunity to help and I am glad I can. Do not burn any bridges, there is no need for it and nothing productive will ever come from it.
  8. Find a mentor. He/she should be the type of worker you aspire to be. Ask if they will mentor you and, if so, take it seriously. If they give you books to read or suggest classes to take then be sure you do your part and read/attend. Do not waste their time with not following through.
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