How To Apply for an Internal Position

Are you thinking about a job change? One of the best places to look for a new job could be the company you’re working for right now. You may be interested in transitioning to a different role within the company, shifting your career focus, or transferring to a new department, or you could be relocating but wish to continue working for the same employer.

Companies want to keep good employees, and if you’re interested in a job change but don’t want to switch employers, checking out what internal job options are available can make good sense.

The Benefits of Internal Hiring

For the employer, posting jobs internally first establishes a fair and transparent hiring process because all employees have the opportunity to apply for available positions.

Advertising positions internally gives employers a mechanism to offer advancement, an opportunity to gain referrals from managers, and a means to provide a career path for employees.

Getting promoted or transferring to a new position with an organization enables employees to grow their careers, increase their salary, and maintain their benefits and retirement plans without moving on to a new employer.

How to Find an Internal Position

Check Company Job Openings Frequently

Most companies list open positions online. In addition, you may be able to sign up to receive email alerts as soon as new jobs are posted. That could give you a head start on the application process, because some employers advertise jobs to internal candidates first, and accept applications from those candidates before the positions are opened up to external applicants.

Before you apply, be sure that you have the credentials the company is seeking. The company isn’t going to give you a different job just because you applied. Plus, you are wasting your time, and the company’s time, applying for jobs that aren’t a good fit.

The Best Way To Tell Your Boss

It’s important to let your boss know that you have applied for another position before he or she finds out from someone else. However, it’s also important to be careful as to how you mention your application. You don’t want your boss to infer (to, say, your supervisor or line manager) that you aren’t happy with your current role, even if it’s true.

You may not get the new job, so it’s important to stay on good terms with your current supervisor.

The best rationale focuses on the positive aspects of the new job without expressing dissatisfaction about the job you’re doing now. In fact, the safest strategy is usually to emphasize that you’re enjoying your current job, so your boss doesn’t think you can’t wait to move on.

How To Apply for an Internal Position

So what’s the best way to apply? It depends on whether you are applying for a transfer or seeking a promotion. However, in both cases, companies typically have an internal job application process you will need to follow. The details should be listed in the job posting and on the careers section of the company website.

Following the instructions is just as important, perhaps even more so, when you’re applying for an internal job opening versus an external position.

Hiring managers expect all applicants to follow the rules. You won’t get a pass if you don’t follow the application guidelines. In fact, your application may not even be considered if you don’t submit the required application materials.

Customize Your Application Materials

Don’t presume that you will automatically be hired for the new job just because you’re already working for your employer. Some companies will give preference to current employees; others evaluate all candidates equally.

That’s why it’s important to carefully write a cover letter targeted specifically to the job for which you’re applying and to update and target your resume, as well.

Spend Time Networking

Who do you know who can help with your application? A referral from your current supervisor would be terrific, but other employees can also put in a good word for your candidacy. Again, be sure to talk to your boss before you start networking. You don’t want your boss to find out that you’re seeking a new position from anyone other than you.

Line Up References

Many companies require references—typically, three employment-related references. If your reference list includes current company employees who are willing to attest to your qualifications, this will boost your candidacy. Talk to managers and colleagues to see whether they would be willing to provide you with a reference. 

Ace the Interview

It’s important to take the time to get ready for your interview. Don’t think that you’ll get off more lightly because you already work for the company. In fact, you may be held to an even higher standard than external job applicants and may be expected to know more about the company and the job. Take the time to thoroughly prepare for the interview:

  • Check out the company website to be sure you are up to date with all the latest news.
  • Review sample interview questions.
  • Make a list of the company’s requirements for the new job and how you’re qualified for it.

Send a Thank-You Note

It’s always important to say thank you for a job interview, regardless of whether you’re interviewing for a job with your present employer or at a new company. Send a thank-you letter via email or in writing to let your interviewer(s) know that you appreciate them considering you for the job.

If you do get the job, it’s a good idea to take the time to thank your boss for the opportunities you were provided with while working with him or her. Also, thank everyone who helped support your candidacy for the position.

Try To Stay Positive

Even though it can be challenging when you’re excited about switching jobs, be sure not to neglect your current position. It’s important not to slack off and to continue to excel in your present role. This will not only enhance your chances of getting a new job next time around, but will also assure your boss that you are still committed to the job you have.

If You Don’t Get the Job

Don’t feel bad if you don’t get the job. There may have been other candidates, internal or external, who were a better fit for the position. Ask for feedback from those you met with.

They may not be able to disclose why you weren’t hired, but, if they can, it will help you plan your next steps—which could entail applying for another internal position or seeking employment outside the company.