Article by Therese Droste
Working within a large organization provides many advantages. One is that new 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, inside or outside the company. The bottom line is that 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 land the job:
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. For example, 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 of a particular area, make it known.
Update Your Resume
Many internal candidates don't update their resumes, because they assume that it's all in the family and the new internal position is merely an extension of their current one. Make sure that your resume includes all of your achievements since you've been at the organization.
Write a Customized Cover Letter
What if you have 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." Or, if you've worked with the hiring manager before, state that you, "enjoyed working with him in the past on the XYZ project, and you hope to have the opportunity to work more closely in a full-time capacity by applying 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 work for, 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 sees you only as Sally, and not as Sally the super assistant, because he doesn't know about your specialized training, the education you're currently pursuing and 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 from HR or someone else. That will reflect poorly on you. Bosses don't like to be in the dark about what their employees are up to. Be honest about your reasons for applying for another position. Flatter your boss by stating how much you've learned from him. And don't overlook the biggest benefit of telling your boss you're applying for a new internal position; he may be able to put in a good word for you.
Alas, just because your boss puts in a good word for you, it doesn't mean you'll automatically get the job.
Garner an Internal Support System
If you don't know the manager you're hoping to work for, get other people you know who may work for him to put in a good word for you.
Write a Thank-You Letter After the Interview
Remember that it's still a job interview, and all the regular courtesies apply.
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.