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If your boss announces an open position in your department you believe you're qualified for, speak up before outside candidates are considered. Make sure you’re qualified for the role, and prepare to emphasize why you’d be a good fit for the new position without talking poorly about your existing job.
Ask for a Meeting
Request a private meeting with your boss. Ask about the qualifications for the position and outline how you would handle the role. Cite examples from your history with the company, emphasizing your achievements and experience, particularly as they relate to the duties of the new opening. The feedback you get from your boss will tell you how to proceed. If she feels you’re qualified, you may be asked to submit to a formal interview process, or you might be given the job on the spot. If she doesn't think you're qualified, ask what you can do to improve your skills and gain experience to be eligible for similar positions in the future.
Internal candidates often have the edge when interviewing for in-house transfers or promotions because they’re familiar with the company and employees. Regardless, prepare for an internal interview the same way you would for an external one. Your boss and other decision-makers might not be familiar with the extent of your responsibilities, or the contributions you've made to the company. Update your resume and provide a detailed accounting of your skills and accomplishments in your current position. Learn as much as you can about the new job and its responsibilities so you can offer suggestions about how you'd tackle the position.
Your Boss’ Job
If your boss is leaving the company, and you feel you’re qualified for her position, talk to her about timing and the company’s plan to replace her. If you have a good working relationship and your boss respects your work, she’ll be a good advocate for you. If your boss hesitates, or indicates she doesn't believe you have the qualifications for her job, talk to a hiring manager, human resources representative or your boss’ superior about your interest. Write a proposal that details your skills and qualifications and outline your knowledge of your boss’ responsibilities.
If You're Rejected
Being rejected for an internal position or promotion can be disheartening, especially if someone outside the company is selected. Don't take the rejection too personally, and instead, focus on doing your current job to the best of your ability. Seek out a mentor to help develop long-term career goals, and ask your immediate supervisor if you can take on additional responsibilities to expand your skills and knowledge. If there’s a particular level in the company you want to reach, inquire about steps and experience necessary to set you on the path for eventual promotion.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.