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As an employee of a firm, you might consider leaving your job for various reasons. Maybe you are relocating or just not satisfied with your current responsibilities. Maybe you see a different long-term path or perhaps it’s time for a new challenge.
Whatever the reason, it’s always worth considering an internal transfer. You’ll often get to retain your pay and perks, and develop links with new colleagues whilst keeping close to your previous professional connections. An internal move is also much more of a known quantity, where you’ll either understand the culture or can get the inside scoop from a colleague.
From your employer’s point of view, you already know the company and its processes, and have met the grade to get a job there in the first place, giving you a head start over external applicants.
However, that doesn’t make you a shoo in for the role – be sure to take it seriously and follow these six steps give yourself the best chance of success.
Most of the time, your company's website is the first thing you look at for any vacancies that you might find interesting. Larger workplaces also often email opportunities to their current employees. If there are no official openings that interest you, it’s time to get creative. Use your current network or internal websites to find a department or team lead and ask them for a coffee or a call – on a confidential basis of course. If you can, also get connected to someone at your level to find out all the pros and cons. Remember that hiring requirements are often fluid and teams can be flexible to accommodate good talent. At the very least you’ll be on the list when an opportunity does open up.
Many companies have a proper structure and policies for their internal transfers and you must figure them out before starting with the process. For instance, it might be HR policy that you notify your current team when you interview with a new department. Not following company protocol can jeopardize the opportunity later on and affect inter-department relationships – there’s nothing worse than having a move cancelled at the last minute because one senior member of staff is upset.
Regardless of company policy, you should directly involve your supervisor if you are thinking about making an internal move – as long as you trust them! Confiding in your manager will earn their support and will let them know that you are not sneaking around. Engage them in discussions and seek their mentorship on this issue so they can guide you in your career and professional development. If you think that your manager is going to make life difficult then discuss this matter with HR staff or your prospective supervisors as well.
To give yourself the best chance of a successful move, you need to be doing well in your current role in the first place. It’s so much harder to move if you’re underperforming and you’ll have to work doubly hard in internal interviews to justify the move to your team. In this situation it can actually be easier to move externally, rather than internally. A reputation as a highly competent worker will do wonders and make sure to get referrals from your current team to make this crystal clear.
Developing relationships with some of the staff members in the new department can give a serious boost to your chances of successfully transferring. Look to build relationships at all levels of the team – staff at your level will give crucial insights into work life, managers can provide tips and tricks for the interview process, whilst impressing one of the senior management will provide a cheerleader for your cause when it comes to decision time. Be sure to mention these interactions with the new team in your application and interviews – it’ll prove you’re serious and have done your own due diligence.
In the end, make sure that you take your transfer opportunity as seriously as you would for an external vacancy. Do the same level of preparation and don't make any assumptions that internal staff know about your accomplishments and all the details.
Transferring internally can be a great way to build your skills and continue your work journey at a company you know well. Take the right steps and you’ll benefit from an exciting new role as well as great relationships with old colleagues and new.
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