The issues you have to consider when attempting to switch roles internally are very different to what you have to deal with when you’re trying to change employers. Here are some tips for succeeding in the face of the very specific challenges that an internal job change brings with it.
1. Present Yourself as the Heir-Apparent
Your proposed internal move is much more likely to be welcomed by your employer’s succession plan if you’ve made it clear from the outset that this is the career path you want to take within the organisation. If you suddenly announce one day that you want to make an ad hoc move, the company is probably not going to be too comfortable with you attempting to manoeuvre such a change.
2. Appreciate the Significance of the Transition
You have to accept that changing roles internally is a significant transition. It’s not the kind of thing you can make happen just like that. It’s a big deal for you and for the boss of the team you’re going to move from, let alone for those who are going to receive you into their team.
3. Identify Your Motives
You have to have a really good reason for why you want to manoeuvre this change. It’s not all about you; it’s also about considering what projected benefits to the organisation will justify you making the move.
4. Understand Your Current Role
In order to convince your organisation of what you could do for it in this new role, you need to first be clear with yourself on what you would be able to do. And in order to be clear with yourself on that, you need to be clear with yourself on what you do now. By analysing your current function, you’ll identify abilities and strengths that could be transferred to the new position.
5. Get a Sponsor
Get someone to champion you, to advocate you as the right internal candidate for whichever role you’ve got your eyes on.
6. Market Yourself as Valuable
It’s very important that you think about what value you would add to the company in your new role, as you’ll need to convince the organisation that the value you would take with you to a different position, team and department justifies you moving.
7. Don’t be Manipulative
Although you want to convince your employer you’re the right person for the job, avoid putting a gun to its head. Don’t try to manipulate the situation by, for example, saying you’re going to leave the organisation if you don’t get the internal move you’re after.
8. Be Flexible
Make it easy for your employer to sanction you changing roles by being flexible about what type of contract you would accept in your new job. Perhaps you could even only switch teams for a temporary period, taking on the new role as a secondment.
9. Balance Planning Ahead with Staying Present
Once you’ve got the new job, there’s still work to be done in manoeuvring the actual transition. You need to think forward to your new role but also stay in the present moment. You’re planning what you will do when you move but you still have to deal with the here and now so that your exit is managed in an appropriate way.
10. Exit and Enter Well
There are always two elements to an internal move that need to be properly thought through. One is leaving the team in a way that wraps it up well. Secondly, your entry into something new needs to be equally well done.