Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to change jobs and companies multiple times during one’s career. At a time when the potential for personal development and a sense of purpose are selection criteria when job hunting, internal mobility is a way to take on a new role without having to accept a totally different daily routine in moving to a new company. myLIFE shares the seven most important rules to make internal mobility work for you.
The modern context
The young, versatile members of generation Y don’t stay as long in the same job as older generations. An increasing emphasis on work-life balance, the search for a strong value system and an ethical business approach are all things that can motivate millennials to seek a new position… in some cases, even if it means a lower salary or fewer benefits.
But whatever generation we belong to, we may all sometimes feel the need for a change, or that we have exhausted the potential of our current position. In these cases, internal mobility can be an excellent way to learn new things without having to start from scratch. That said, even within the same company, a change of role should be carefully prepared for and made for good reasons. Without this, the process could even backfire.
The key to a winning application is a good fit between the company’s interests and those of the employee. Read on for our seven secrets to success.
1. Outline your plan
Before doing anything else, you should define your goals and career plan. Merely wanting to quit your current job cannot be an end in itself. Why do you want to change positions, and what do you hope to achieve? What has drawn you to this new challenge? What are your goals? What are the likely consequences of the decision for your current colleagues and supervisors? What would you bring to the table in your new role at the company? Articulating your plan clearly and coherently will give you maximum credibility and put you in the best possible position as a candidate. This is even more important if people at the company already know you, and if most of your colleagues have probably never thought of you as someone with the skills and desire to do something else.
Illustrate how your current job and your knowledge of that department constitute advantages over any external applicants.
2. Evaluate your skillset
You may already hold a job title, but that is precisely why it is important to actively inventory your professional skills. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Which skills do you already have that would contribute to the new role, and which ones would you like to develop? All of these questions are essential to making a case for your application and explaining your decision. Illustrate how your current job and your knowledge of that department constitute advantages over any external applicants. Finally, give cohesive information about your plans, motivation and actions, ensuring you send a unified message to every person you speak with (manager, supervisor, their supervisor, HR, etc.).
3. Set a strategy and prepare your next move
Once you have clearly defined your path and skillset, it is crucial to work out a strategy. Just because you’re already at the company doesn’t mean you’re a shoo-in. Prepare for the interview and update your CV, down to the smallest detail. Think about how best to broach the subject with your manager, and when would be the right time. Talk things through with HR, who have experience with this sort of situation and will know what to advise. It is of the utmost importance that you do things in the correct order. Take your schedule and current projects into account when finding the right moment. It would not go over well if you told your bosses you wished to leave just as your whole team were in the thick of a project that monopolised all of their energy.
4. Keep a job watch
Having a plan, a strategy and a clear idea of your skills is one thing, but you will still have to find a suitable job opening to apply for. Remember, these won’t be handed to you on a silver platter. How to find them is no secret: always be on the lookout. Check your company’s intranet regularly, in addition to its website. Sometimes, a simple press release or interview published by a manager can reveal forthcoming projects and future opportunities for internal mobility, even if no opening has been announced yet.
Poor evaluations will not motivate other managers to seriously consider your application.
5. Excel at your current job
To have a good chance of bagging that coveted new position, it goes without saying that you will need to have proven your worth at the company. Unlike external candidates, you have a work history there, and this has a major influence – so see to it that it’s a good one. There’s little chance you’ll be entrusted with a new role if you haven’t done well in your current position and your manager is dissatisfied with your performance. Poor evaluations will not motivate other managers to seriously consider your application. This part is down to you, so do everything you can to keep on good terms with your boss. They may not be the one to give you the job, but they’ll surely give input on your application.
6. Be confident
Believe in yourself! If you doubt yourself and your abilities it will show, and cause your interviewers to have doubts as well. The emotions you project have an enormous influence on those who have been tasked with ‘judging’ you. As with any accomplishment, self-confidence is one ingredient for success. Changing jobs can be nerve-racking, but bear in mind that this is your decision, and a step on the path that you yourself laid at the outset.
At the end of the day, companies are made up of people. It’s up to you to build relationships with them.
7. Make yourself known
Last but not least, it never hurts to do a little networking ! Go to events, eat lunch with your colleagues, and have a cup of coffee with staff from the department you hope to join. In short, optimise your networking efforts. At the end of the day, companies are made up of people. It’s up to you to build relationships with them. It’s also a good idea to increase your visibility outside of the workplace in a way that highlights your abilities: speaking at a conference or writing an article for LinkedIn could work in your favour. And don’t forget to keep your profile up to date on professional social media.
All in all, changing jobs within the same company requires an organised and unified approach. Prepare by following this mini-guide and you’ll have fortune on your side for a successful interview. And before you leave your current role, make things easier for your replacement and help ensure a smooth handover that doesn’t endanger your company’s operations. Never forget that your old teammates will still be your colleagues when you leave.