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How to Effectively Apply for an Internal Position at Work

How to Effectively Apply for an Internal Position at Work

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By Courtney Bousquet, M.S., GCDF, CCSP
Senior Manager, Career Coaching, APUS

Sometimes you love the company you work for, but do not love your current position. Other times, you love both, but want a new challenge.

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Thankfully, internal job openings are typically available at many companies. Most of the time, internal candidates get the benefit of seeing postings before the outside competition does.

But how do you make the best of your application for an internal position? Here are five tips you can follow to improve your chances of success.

#1: Do Your Research on the Internal Position

You already work for the company so you’re already ahead of the outside competition. You have a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips, so use it to your advantage.

The biggest mistake an internal candidate can make is going into the application process, especially the interview, without knowing anything about the new department. To combat this information gap, research the new department via the company’s website or internal resources, so you are well informed and prepared. Anything that helps you to be more knowledgeable about the new department will give you a leg up during the process.

#2: Update and Customize Your Application Materials

Believing that you’ll get an interview just because you already work for the company is naïve. An outdated resume already uploaded to your company’s hiring page does nothing for a hiring manager; just because they know you work for the company does not mean they know your skills.

Take the initiative, and update your resume to address the new role. Show the hiring manager how your experience benefits their department. Use your research and segments from the job description to tailor your experience to their needs, so they know you’re the best fit for the job.

#3: Network with Your Colleagues

Take your research one step further and start networking with people in departments you aspire to work in. Not only will you learn about other areas of your organization, but you may also learn of new opportunities before they are announced to the public.

Getting to know colleagues in other departments also allows them to get to know you. If they know what your passions are and your strengths, there’s a good chance you’ll be in the forefront of their mind should a position in your areas of expertise open up.

#4: Follow Up about the Internal Position

Send a thank-you email to the hiring manager and those who interviewed you within 24 hours of your interview. Highlight the things you learned, a fact that resonated with you and the skills that you have that would benefit their team.

Let the hiring team for the position know you look forward to hearing from them and wish them the best in their search. If you do not hear back from them within two weeks or the specific time period they mentioned during your interview, do not be afraid to follow up. Following up shows them that you are still interested in the job.

#5: Ask for Feedback

Another perk of being an internal candidate is that if you aren’t selected for the role, you still have access to the hiring manager. You can reach out to them, provide your thanks for the opportunity to learn more about their department and ask for feedback.

This internal feedback will not only help you in understanding why you didn’t get the job, but it also shows the hiring manager that you are interested in learning from your experience and bettering yourself. Having this knowledge and the ambition to do better will also assist you in setting yourself up for better interviews in the future.

The biggest takeaway when you apply for an internal position is that you shouldn’t make any assumptions during the process. Do not assume that since you already work for the company, you do not need to prepare properly for an interview or be more relaxed throughout the hiring process.

If anything, you need to be extra prepared and on top of your game since you have more resources available to you. Take advantage of the fact that you have access to inside, valuable information, and take the time to put your best foot forward and land the new job!

About the Author

Courtney Bousquet is the Senior Manager of Career Coaching at American Public University System. She is a Certified Career Services Provider (CCSP), a Certified Organization Advisor and a Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF). Courtney holds a B.A. in Communication and Journalism: Public Relations from Suffolk University; a M.S. in Applied Educational Psychology, College Student Development and Counseling from Northeastern University; and a Graduate Certificate in Organizational Management and an M.B.A. from American Public University.

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