13 Winning Tips when Applying for an Internal Job


Applying for an internal job is easy because you have already worked for the company, right? Uh…Not so much.  Being an internal applicant doesn’t give you an “in”vantage against other applicants.  You often have to take extra steps in the process that an external applicant does not. It is very important that you employ the same tactics you would as if applying for an external position. Bring your “A” game.  The job could depend on it.

According to Forbes online Job Seekers should do 7 things when applying for internal jobs:

  1. Take the process seriously – Prepare for the interview.
  2. Speak to employees already on the job – find out what they think about the job.
  3. Meet with HR/HR Business Partner – discuss the job’s responsibilities and requirements.
  4. Let your manager know – many companies require this
  5. Get your manager’s support – they are your best sponsor/reference
  6. Introduce yourself to the HM – let them know you’ve applied for the position.
  7. Send a Thank you note after the interview – be sure it’s customized.

My advice3
I wholly agree with all the steps Forbes mentioned.  In addition to this information, here is how I advise my clients on navigating through the internal job process:

8. Determine if you are qualified and meet the minimum requirements for the position.  Just as you would for an external job, be sure you are at least an 80% match for the job. Listen to Episode 13 for details about how to calculate the 80%.

9. Know the notice period – it could be up to 90 days at some companies.  Some company policies also require that you are in your current position for a specific period of time (6 months, or 1 year, etc).

Business communication. Two cheerful business men talking to each other and gesturing

10. When you inform your manager, have a transition plan ready.   To give yourself an advantage, have a transition plan ready for when you leave your current position to help with the transition. Offer to be available for a specific period of time while you migrate to your new position. While creating a transition plan may not be your responsibility, creating one may decrease the anxiety of backfilling your current position. This sets you up for success.  This helps you beat out your competitors.   

resume11. Prepare a current, tailored resume. You should not assume that you don’t need a resume or that that the hiring manager knows your career experience and accomplishments.   Many companies ask for resumes from internal candidates to compare skill sets against the requirements for the position. Your resume is an opportunity to show you are a perfect fit for the position so invest in creating a value added resume. Listen to Episode 6 for tips on tailoring your resume.

Is_there_such_thing_as_a_bad_charity_-_shh_photo12. Maintain strict confidentiality – Do not tell anyone at the job you are applying for an open position – not even your best friend at work – especially if you haven’t told your manager.  Why?  Save yourself from uncomfortable feelings in front of an audience in case you don’t get the job.  If you tell just one person, chances are the information will get out.

image001113. Don’t complicate the application process with politics. Follow company procedure for applying for an open position.  It’s when you deviate from the policy to accommodate political, emotional, or social nuances that could disqualify you from the process (by not following policy) or turn the application process into a legal matter – and everyone should avoid both. Contact your local HR representative for procedures on applying for internal positions.

 Ending thought:  Treat the internal process the same as the external job process by taking it seriously. Follow internal policies and tell your manager even if you are not required. Submit a current, tailored resume.  Send a thank you note.  Following these tips will lead you to greater success.

red checkmarkTask for the week: update your internal profile within your company and your resume.

imagesCareer Tip of the Week: Review your education and training on your resume and LinkedIn profile.  Be sure to update your skill set every five years (new degree, new certification, new training, etc). Visit Lynda.com to take a course, then add it to your LinkedIn profile as a way to add a recent training on a new skill.

For more on this topic, click to listen to this week’s episode on my BlogTalkRadio Show, “Career Talk with Holly Bunn”, Applying for Internal Jobs

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Career Talk with Holly Bunn Online Radio Show,Saturdays at 12:30pm ET.Click here: Ms Resume Help BlogTalk Radio Show (Home)

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Holly Bunn is a career coach, resume writer, LinkedIn profile writer, and motivational speaker with more than 15 years of experience in Human Resources, recruiting, and technology. She is sought out as a subject matter expert on resumes, LinkedIn, job search, and career management. Holly has delivered job search workshops and written resumes for hundreds of job seekers who have secured interviews and landed jobs. Her clients experience success almost immediately after applying her winning techniques.  For more information on career coaching or resume help, contact Holly at (305) 791-6965 or holly@msresumehelp.com.


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