Thinking About Applying for a Job Internally?

In this job market, when it’s generally safest to stay where you are, the internal move has become a popular option for dissatisfied employees.  But how should you handle the delicate matter of applying for a different job in your organization?  For advice, I turned to our very own Alison Green, who features this question in her excellent eBook How to Get a Job: Secrets from a Hiring Manager.

Don’t Act Rashly

Alison recommends that before you apply, you should be reasonably sure you actually want the job.  You should not interview for positions you either don’t want or don’t know too much about yet, as that’s wasting everyone’s time.  You can sniff around for information, but do not do anything definitive until you are certain there’s a good chance you’d take the position.

Tell Your Boss First

Once you formally throw your hat in the ring (i.e. submit an application), you won’t be able to hide the news from your boss, so your current manager should hear it from you, not from someone else.  Alison instructs us to be prepared for her to react badly.  “Be ready with an explanation that will control the fall-out – for example, this is an opportunity you can’t resist and you really want to grow your career in a company you love.”

Do a Thorough Wrap-Up

According to Alison, unless your boss is totally unprofessional, she should be able to handle the news like a grown-up, and you’ll be on your way.  I will just add that, of course, you’ll want to stay busy doing top-quality work and putting things in order until your very last second working in your current position.  When you’re staying with the same organization, it’s even more imperative that you keep your reputation spotless and don’t burn bridges.

Alexandra Levit

Alexandra Levit’s goal is to help people find meaningful jobs - quickly and simply - and to succeed beyond measure once they get there. Follow her @alevit.

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  • http://www.askamanager.org Alison Green – Ask a Manager

    Very good point about it being even more important to handle your final days at the old job well!  You really don’t need your new boss hearing you’ve been slacking off before you’ve even started!

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    Anonymous Reply:

    Exactly.  The new boss may think you will treat him/her with the same amount of respect in the coming months/years!

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    Anonymous Reply:

    Exactly.  The new boss may think you will treat him/her with the same amount of respect in the coming months/years!

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  • http://radioventriloquist.blogspot.com Diedra B

    I disagree with informing your boss first. If the manager on the other side is not interested in interviewing you, then you have frightened your boss unnecessarily. Some bosses react worse than badly to this kind of information. . . and whose job do you think is on the line? Not your boss’s. Yours!

    Now if you are invited for an interview and it seems to be going well, then I would say something. . . Just look at it this way, would you tell your boss you’re taking a day off to interview at another company? Or would you mention you stayed up late last night finetuning your resume to send off to a rival organization? I think not.

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    Anonymous Reply:

    I see what you’re saying, Diedra, but I would still be concerned that the other manager would inform the boss that you’ve applied.  The best case scenario, in my opinion, is to talk with your boss about your future goals so that application for this type of position is a move that makes sense to both of you.

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    Scott Williamson Reply:

    In some cases, it may be required to inform your boss before applying to other internal positions.  I work at Intuit and before applying to another opportunity internally, it was required that I let my current boss know.  I’m fortunate that he supported my decision to grow my career.

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    Anonymous Reply:

    Great point, Scott.  It was required at the last company I worked at as well.

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    Anonymous Reply:

    Great point, Scott.  It was required at the last company I worked at as well.

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