“I dig the company I work for, but my team not so much. A position recently became available in a different department – I have the skills and want to apply. How do I navigate this without upsetting my boss or risking my current job if it doesn’t work out?” – Rebecca from Henderson, NV
The good news is that companies are increasingly turning to internal talent to fill open positions – hiring from within saves the company an average of $6,000, and research also shows that internal hires are often more successful (75 percent success rate compared to a 40-60 percent success rate for externally hired individuals).
But you want to proceed with caution when applying for a different job within you same company to make sure you don’t burn any bridges along the way. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Get the real scoop. Before doing anything, be sure this isn’t a “the grass is always greener on the other side” scenario. Do you know enough about the other team and who you’d be working for to know it would be different from what you’re experiencing now? Find a colleague on that team you can trust and take them out for lunch; use that time to find out what working on that team is really like.
- Talk to your boss. It’s best to be up front with your supervisor about your intentions to apply for a different position. Instead of making the conversation about why you don’t like your current team, talk about how the other position more closely aligns with your skills, work style or career development. You want to avoid appearing discontent with your current position in case you don’t get the other job.
- Discuss your plans with HR. Most likely, you aren’t the first employee to consider switching positions within the company. Rely on their expertise and tips about how to navigate the particular dynamics and processes in your organization.
- Give it your all. If you do decide to apply, don’t assume you have an advantage just because you’re a current employee. While some companies have different procedures for internal staff, you’ll most likely still need to provide a résumé or complete a new application. You’ll also be required to interview. You need to demonstrate why they should hire you over external applicants, so make sure you invest the same amount of time and resources you would if you were applying at an external company.
- Refrain from telling coworkers. Part of the risk you take with applying for a different position is that you won’t get it. If colleagues know you’re discontent with a job you’ve been forced to stay in, they may take you less seriously or feel you’re not committed to your work. You may also feel embarrassed if you tell everyone and then you don’t get hired. It’s best to keep your plans to the pertinent parties — your boss, HR, the hiring manager — during the application process.
Good luck to you in your career pursuits! With any luck, your current and prospective supervisor will appreciate your loyalty to the company and help you find a position that best utilizes your skills and abilities.