Applying for an Internal Job Posting

A job has opened up at your company and you want it.  However, you know that applying for positions internally can be tricky.  Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you navigate through the application process and hopefully get that job: 

Do tell your supervisor.  Managers hate surprises.  If you apply for an internal position without giving your manager a heads up, you risk appearing disloyal and even sneaky.  This will damage your relationship with your manager, which could create a problem for you regardless of whether or not you get the job.  Also, if the hiring manager finds out about it, it could give them second thoughts about you. 

Do talk to the hiring manager.  One of the main advantages of being an internal applicant is that you have the opportunity to make a personal connection with the people who are hiring for the position.  Seek out the hiring manager and let them know that you are applying for the role.  Tell them why you are interested in the position and how you think that you would be a good fit.  If you manage to impress the hiring manager, you significantly increase your chances of getting selected for the job. 

Don’t advertise that you are applying for the position.  It’s not necessary to tell your coworkers that you are applying for the job.  If any of them are also applying, it could cause tension, and having a lot of people know about your application puts pressure on you and makes it embarrassing if you don’t get selected.   

Do take the time to customize your resume and cover letter.  Just because you are already working for the company, doesn’t mean that you can get lazy.  Take at least as much time to customize your resume and cover letter as you would with an external application.  The other internal applicants will be bringing their A-game, so you need to bring yours too.   

Don’t apply unless you’re sure that you want the job.  You should always carefully consider each internal application that you submit.  You don’t want to be the person who applies to every open position; it makes you appear unsatisfied, unfocused and even unstable.  It also becomes an awkward situation if you are selected for a position and you decide that you don’t want it.  Before you apply to any position, be sure that it truly is a move that you want to make.

There is often a great deal of competition for internal job postings.  Even if you are an excellent candidate, sometimes someone else is just a better fit for the job.  If you don’t get selected, don’t become angry or bitter.  Show your professionalism by continuing to perform well in your current position and wait for the next opportunity to come along.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)


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