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How to Switch Jobs Within a Company

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If you’ve been with a company for some time but you feel your career has stagnated in your current position, you might be interested in exploring other employment opportunities within the company. The good news is, you know the company and its main decision makers, which can give you an edge over external candidates. To be successful and avoid burning bridges, start by talking to your own boss before pursuing other opportunities.

Talk to Human Resources

Before you make a decision to switch jobs within the company, meet with your human resources representative and get a job description for the position you're considering. Make sure you have the education, skills, credentials and experience necessary for the role. Ask who you would report to, what the main responsibilities of the position are and where the company is in the process of filling the opening.

Meet With Your Boss

Approach your boss carefully when talking about changing jobs in the company. You want him to be an advocate for you, rather than someone who is frustrated or angry you want to leave his department. Start your conversation by saying how much you enjoy your job, particularly the opportunity to work with your boss and colleagues. Explain that you're interested in exploring your long-term career prospects with the company and want to learn more about another position. In an ideal situation, your boss will be supportive of your interests, help you learn more about the other role and build a good case on your behalf.

Manage Your Boss’ Reaction

If your boss seems put off that you're interested in pursuing other opportunities, he may try to dissuade you, either by telling you you're not qualified for the other position or by offering you a more advanced leadership role in your current department. If the prospect of new responsibilities in your current department is enticing, you owe it to yourself to learn more about it. If you're still interested in pursuing a different opportunity, respectfully say that while you appreciate your boss’ concerns, you’re informing him of your intent as a courtesy, and would appreciate his support of your decision.

Approach the Hiring Manager

Schedule an appointment to talk to the individual who heads up the department you're interested in joining. Introduce yourself if you’re not already familiar with the manager, and express your interest in the job. Highlight what you’ve done to date in your current position and discuss how long you’ve been with the company. Based on how your conversation goes, you might learn the position is not what you originally anticipated and decide to discontinue your pursuit. Or, you may be encouraged enough to officially submit your application and resume for consideration. If the latter is the case, ask what the manager is looking for in an ideal candidate and craft your resume and application accordingly.

Internal Interview Prep

Prepare for an internal interview much like you’d prepare for one with a different company. Don't assume that just because you're employed with the company that a hiring manager knows everything about your skills, abilities and contributions. Update your resume, collect past positive performance evaluations and letters of commendation and make a list of specific contributions you've made in your current role. Sell yourself just as you would to an unfamiliar manager and emphasize how much you enjoy working with the company.


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.

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