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by Rob Porter | September 08, 2023

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At some point in your career, you might start thinking that you’d like to change roles. This could be due to a change in interests, newly discovered skills, or any number of other reasons. If you absolutely love the company you work for but feel that you’d be better suited in another role, it might be possible to make a change without having to leave. Here are some tips on how to change roles within the same company.

Talk to Your Boss

The very first thing you should do is develop a pitch for your boss or manager. While expressing your interest in taking on a new role make sure you provide strong reasons why you would be a good fit, along with any relevant examples of situations where you demonstrated the skills that are necessary to perform the potential new tasks at hand.

If you’re able to prove a strong case to your boss, they should be able to help you with the next steps. Also, keep in mind that you might be asked to help train your replacement in the event you’re granted the opportunity to change roles. On the other hand, there could be internal issues that might hinder your ability to make the move. For example, your current team might be experiencing operational issues in which it is temporarily unable to afford to vacate your position.

Gather Information

Next, take a look at the role you’re interested in. This could include checking out your employee handbook, reading various job descriptions online, or speaking with network connections who are currently in your desired role. Seek to learn as much about the role as you can, this way you can start to develop the necessary skills and perform any updates to your resume.

Once you’ve determined that the new role is a good fit, schedule a meeting with a human resources representative at your job and inquire about your employer’s process for making a lateral move. Depending on your employer, there may be unique requirements or a specialized application process for employees who want to switch jobs. In the absence of such requirements or processes, it would still be best to make your intentions known so that adjustments can be made to compensate for the upcoming change.

Network Internally

When it comes to changing jobs within the same company, it’s important to maintain a strong internal network. As you begin to gather information about the role you’re interested in, strike up conversations with members of the team you might be moving to. When it’s appropriate to do so, ask questions to learn additional information about the role you’re interested in, the dynamics of the team you might be joining, and the management style of the team leader.

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to contribute to additional projects in order to help develop the skills you’ll need for your new role. Of course, this will require clearance from your current boss, as well as from the other team’s leader, and you might have to work additional hours in order to participate in said projects. The bottom line is, you want to build relationships with the people you might be working with in the near future. This will not only give you the opportunity to demonstrate your value, but your new network connections will be able to provide support throughout the application process and as you transition into your new role.

The Hiring Process

When you’re applying to a new job within the same company, the hiring process may look a little different. If the role is being offered internally, applying could be less intensive than the typical job application; however, there will still be some form of an interview that you’ll have to participate in.

It’s important to approach this job interview as thoughtfully and carefully as you would any other interview. Perform research into the role, update your resume and cover letter accordingly, and devise a series of questions that you can ask the interviewer. Since you already work for the company, you might be on a first-name basis with the hiring manager, so certain particulars of the interview may seem somewhat looser; however, maintaining professionalism is key.

Since you’ll still be working at the same company, you have the advantage of your previous performance reviews at your disposal. In addition to this, your references could very well be the people you’re currently working with. This can greatly simplify the process of obtaining references, and if you’ve had nothing but stellar performance reviews in the past, you’ll have a great chance at landing the new position.

Keep in mind that depending on your employer’s needs, it might not be possible to jump into a new role right away; however, it would still be to your advantage to bring it up. This way, when something becomes available, you’re at the top of the list. In the event you have to wait, continue to focus on your current tasks while also developing any new skills you might need in the future.

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