In this job market, when it’s generally safest to stay where you are, the internal move has become a popular option for dissatisfied employees. But how should you handle the delicate matter of applying for a different job in your organization? For advice, I turned to our very own Alison Green, who features this question in her excellent eBook How to Get a Job: Secrets from a Hiring Manager.
Alison recommends that before you apply, you should be reasonably sure you actually want the job. You should not interview for positions you either don’t want or don’t know too much about yet, as that’s wasting everyone’s time. You can sniff around for information, but do not do anything definitive until you are certain there’s a good chance you’d take the position.
Once you formally throw your hat in the ring (i.e. submit an application), you won’t be able to hide the news from your boss, so your current manager should hear it from you, not from someone else. Alison instructs us to be prepared for her to react badly. “Be ready with an explanation that will control the fall-out – for example, this is an opportunity you can’t resist and you really want to grow your career in a company you love.”
According to Alison, unless your boss is totally unprofessional, she should be able to handle the news like a grown-up, and you’ll be on your way. I will just add that, of course, you'll want to stay busy doing top-quality work and putting things in order until your very last second working in your current position. When you’re staying with the same organization, it’s even more imperative that you keep your reputation spotless and don’t burn bridges.