How to Change Careers with the Same Employer
If you love your company but not your job, making a change doesn’t mean breaking up forever. You don’t necessarily have to change employer to change your career. Sure, if you are working in a small company staffed by lifers then it’s not so easy, but if your employer is a mid to large-sized organization, there is sure to be room to make a lateral move or pursue a promotion.
There are huge benefits to diversifying in the same company, not least the continuation of retirement plans, health benefits, any perks and vacation allowances. Plus, your breadth of experience, hard-working reputation and your insider knowledge and loyalty make you a great candidate.
Keep reading to learn how you can make your next move...within the same company.
Determine where you want to be
Now is the time to take a long hard ponder about your career by defining your passions and work goals. Make a start by researching internal roles and departments to understand what’s required from you to make a successful move.
You might find that a good fit for you is closer than you think. There’s a world of difference between inside and outside sales or account management for example, and a shift of focus could be more suited to your goals. Or, your research might lead you to decide to invest your own time to complete some training and skill yourself up for a move.
Network, network, network
You’ve done your research so now it’s time to get your face known and build relationships especially with the team or department you want to move into. Volunteer for company-wide initiatives or special projects to build relationships, and get your personal brand out there. Remember though, building your contacts is a long game. Another great idea is to get yourself a mentor or suggest a work-shadowing scheme to human resources.
Talk to your manager
Internal transfers can be tricky if you don’t handle it right. It makes sense to talk to your boss about your desire to make a transfer, even if your current boss is one of the reasons you want to move! Whatever your relationship, including them first means they wont think you’re sneaking behind their back - which could seriously backfire on you. Let’s be real - anyone else you talk to in your company about your plans may feel obliged to speak to your manager anyway, so be upfront from the get go.
When discussing your career goals with your boss keep in mind three things: First, make it specific and relevant rather than expressing general desires; secondly, emphasize how it can benefit the company (don’t make it all about you); and finally keep it separate from your regular meetings. This helps create distance and means you’re not shoehorning an important discussion at the end of an already crammed catch-up.
Keep performing in your current role
This is super important. Whilst you are busy researching and networking for your move, don’t forgot the job in hand. If you lack focus or deadlines start drifting that’s not gonna work for your company-wide rep. Plus you need your manager to have your back. So work hard to keep the plates spinning while you plan your next step.
Present your credentials
When it comes to applications and interviews don’t assume that internal stakeholders will know your skills and achievements just because you all work in the same company. Present yourself as if you were applying for an external position with concrete examples of your skills and achievements. If you make assumptions about what people know or are too casual because you are in a familiar environment, you won’t present yourself as the best candidate.
Plan for a smooth handover
You’ve done it. You’ve landed that new role. Crack open the champagne! But don’t forget to plan for a smooth transition so you leave behind a happy team and manager. Make a list of outstanding tasks and prioritize them with your manager. Write some comprehensive notes and train your replacement so they are confident. Equally in your new role, make the most of your learning window to ask all the questions, read the job description carefully and discuss it with your new boss so you are crystal clear on your new responsibilities.
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