Applying for an Internal Position
One of the best ways to advance your career, learn new skills, and increase your salary is to apply for an internal position.
An internal job posting is a job that’s available to you as an existing employee. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, internal candidates are desirable because there are no recruiting fees associated with them, and they generally don’t require extensive training. Plus, as an internal candidate, you know the company, the industry, and the corporate culture.
However, you shouldn’t take it for granted that you’re guaranteed to get an internal position just because you applied. You should still bring your A-game. Remember, you’re not only competing against outside candidates, but other internal candidates.
Empire Resume recommends using these tips to stand out from the crowd when applying for an internal position.
1. Revise Your Resume
Before you apply for an internal position, take some time to update your resume and cover letter. You have the advantage of knowing more about the position and the company than external candidates. That means you can tailor your resume to be super-specific to the position you want.
You’ll want to highlight successes you’ve already had within the company to show that you know how to add value. At the same time, remove any past job experiences that have nothing to do with the firm you’re currently working for.
Use your cover letter to clearly describe your skills and knowledge gained from your current role and how you can apply them to the role you want.
2. Talk to Your Boss
Let’s broach the “when do I tell my boss” topic right now. So many people applying for an internal position struggle with when they should tell their boss.
In these cases, honesty is usually the best policy. You want to make sure that your boss understands your desire for job growth without giving him or her the impression that you hate your current position. After all, you may not get the position you’re applying for and you’ll have to continue working with your boss.
Every boss is different, but the best-case scenario is that you have a boss who supports your career goals. Chances are that they’ve been in the same position you’re in at some point in their career. If you’re on especially good terms you can ask him or her for a letter of recommendation.
3. Spend Time Networking
Ask co-workers who have already have a position similar to the one you’re going for if they have some time for a discussion.
They can give you valuable insight into what the day-to-day of the job is like, what skills you need to succeed, and what it’s like to work for your potential supervisor. Ask for details about potential interview questions and how to best answer them.
4. Introduce Yourself to the Hiring Manager
After you apply for the position online, take a hard copy of your resume to the hiring manager. Let them know you’ve applied and appreciate them taking you into consideration.
Don’t overstay your welcome. You just want the manager to get a good first impression and be able to put a face to the name.
5. Meet with the Internal Recruiter
Part of an internal recruiter’s job is to screen candidates before passing resumes onto the hiring manager. Let the recruiter know which position you’ve applied to. Talk a bit about your skills and current responsibilities and why you think you’d be a good fit.
Again, this is just to give the recruiter a good first impression with the hopes that you’ll have more in-depth conversations later in the process.
6. Ace the Interview
If all goes well, you’ll land an interview for the position. Be sure to treat it just as if you were an external candidate. Arrive on-time, professionally dressed, with resume and work samples in hand.
The night before, you should practice answers to common interview questions. Be ready talk succinctly about how you can apply skills learned in your current role to the new role.
Don’t ever take it for granted that you’ll be asked softball questions just because you’re an internal candidate. In fact, you might be held to a higher standard than external candidates since you already know the company.
7. Send a Follow up Letter
Within 48 hours after the interview, be sure to send a follow up letter to the hiring manager and anyone else you’ve interviewed with. Express your continued interest in the position and give a quick summary of why you think you’d be a successful candidate.
8. Stay Focused
After you’ve interviewed, go back to doing your current job to the best of your ability. It can be hard to stay focused when you’re excited about the prospect of the new job. However, you might not get the position and you’ll want to assure your boss that you’re still committed to the job you have.
9. Be Prepared for Getting, or Not Getting, the Job
If you get the job, then congratulations. But be sure to leave your current job gracefully. Give the standard two weeks’ notice and bring all of your current projects to completion. Offer to train your replacement and to be available for any questions that may pop up about your past projects.
If you don’t get the job, then try not to be too upset. Ask for feedback from those you interviewed with about why you weren’t chosen. Maybe there’s a skill you could learn or more training you could get that will make you a stronger candidate the next time you apply for an internal position.
Apply for an Internal Position with an External Mindset
The most succinct advice for applying for an internal position is this: Approach the job as if you were an external candidate, but use the advantages you have as an internal candidate to make yourself stand out from the competition. This advice, along with the tips above will help you land the position you want.
Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.