When most people think of a getting a new job, the first thought is to look outside of their current employer. If you are in a small company with lots of “lifers” where many of the roles are set, an external move may be your only option. But if you work for a mid to large-sized company that actively recruits to fill positions, the first place to start may be your internal job board.
There are several things that could be prompting your desire to change jobs or switch career tracks. Barring that you want to make a change because your values clash with that of your employer’s, you may find an opportunity to grow or try something new by moving to a different part of the organization. Even if there seems to be a culture clash or work style clash with your current manager or team, don’t make the mistake of thinking every other team works the same way. A different manager who knows how to groom talent or a different team that has learned how to collaborate and communicate may be just the fit you have been looking for.
When does it make sense to look for an internal opportunity?
- You have earned a reputation or label on your current team that you’d like to shed.
- You’ve gotten too entangled in departmental politics and need to make a fresh start.
- You and your current manager don’t see eye to eye on professional goals and development
- The company is great but the assignments and interactions just don’t match your skills and interest.
- The company on a whole is stable, even if your department has been reorganized.
- You’ve got a good track record of meeting or exceeding performance expectations.
- Bonus: The company has an internal job board or communicates new openings on a regular basis.
Does finding a different role in the same company appeal to you as a career makeover strategy? Here are 8 ways to prepare for an internal opportunity:
- Start asking questions: find out what the other departments/teams are, what they do and who the key people are.
- Browse the internal job boards: check out the opportunities and requirements.
- Expand your internal network: Now’s the time to break out of the silo and make time to connect with people outside of your team.
- Get clear on your passion and values: make sure your next move is in line with who you are and the next experience you want for your career.
- Strengthen your performance: If your performance has been lacking, start bringing you’re A-game to the table. You want to increase you’re the good “buzz” about what you are capable of and the value you bring to the table.
- Upgrade your résumé: add new responsibilities and accomplishments to showcase how you have grown.
- Prepare your pitch: You’ll need to be able to clearly communicate why you want to change, and how this move will benefit you and the company.
- Create a learning plan: Look for any internal training your company offers that relates to your new job. Want to show you are really committed? Invest some of your own dollars and time in a class that will prepare you for your new role. (Whether you stay or look for an external opportunity – this will help your transition).
So, if you are planning a job search in preparation for your next career move, remember to start with or at least include your current employer. You may find that your next best move is the office or cubicle across the hall.