Working within a large organization provides many advantages. One of the pros is that internal job opportunities arise from time to time, so employees don't even have to leave the building to advance their careers.
But it's easy to trip up when applying for an internal job. Why? One of the main problems is that many employees approach internal job offerings too casually. It's important to remember that similar rules and standards are in place when applying for any job, whether inside or outside a company.
Applying from within doesn't always necessarily give you an "in." The bottom line is you're trying to get a new job, and you need to use every professional tactic you can to get it. Follow these tips to help you get in from the inside.
Don't Apply for Every Available Position
You'll never be taken seriously if you apply each time a position opens. Clarify your reasons for applying for a specific job. If the opportunity is in a department in which you wish your career to grow, or if the position will allow you to expand your knowledge in a particular area, make it known.
Update Your Resume
Many internal candidates don't update their resumes, assuming that it's all in the family and the new internal position is merely an extension of their current one. Make sure your resume includes all the achievements you've earned since joining the organization.
Write a Customized Cover Letter
What if you've done work for the manager who needs a new assistant, and he already knows you're terrific? There are still things the manager doesn't know about you. A cover letter should begin, "I appreciate the opportunity to apply for the XYZ position. Let me tell you why I am a good fit for the job."
Sound a bit formal? That's the idea. No matter how often you've talked to the person you're applying to, or how well he may know you, you want to use the application process as an opportunity to show how professional you are. It's quite possible the new potential boss only sees you as Sally, and not as Sally the super assistant, because he doesn't know about your specialized training, the education you're currently pursuing or your past work experience.
Let Your Current Boss Know You're Applying for the Job
While you may not want your current boss to know you're seeking a new opportunity in the company, he will find out quickly if you become a candidate. Bosses don't like to be in the dark about what their employees are up to, so don't keep them there. Be honest about your reasons for applying for another position, and see if he would be willing to put in a good word for you.
Construct an Internal Support System
If you don't know the manager you're hoping to work for, get other people you know in common to promote you.
Write a Thank-You Letter After the Interview
Remember it's still a job interview, and all the regular courtesies apply, including sending an interview thank-you letter.
Didn't Get the Job?
Now is a good time to find out why. Try to get some feedback from HR. Turn the rejection into an opportunity by getting whatever skills you need so that the next time you apply for a similar job, you'll be the winning candidate.