Navigating Internal Job Applications: Tips for Communicating with Your Current Boss

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Jun 28, 2023 5 min read

You’re looking to take the next step in your career?

But at the same time, you just love your organization so much. It’s a great culture fit, you get along with your team… And generally, you just don’t want to leave.

We get what you mean…

In this case, the natural decision would be to start exploring some internal job opportunities. This would allow you to apply for a new role without having to leave the organization you’re currently part of.

But what exactly are internal jobs in the first place?

It’s simple - these are jobs that become available within your current organization. They also allow you to apply for a new role without having to leave everything behind and start anew.

What a dream, right? Everything sounds just perfect.

Almost as if applying for an internal job is as simple and stress-free as eating cake.

But in reality, if you’re considering applying for an internal job, you’ll need to have an open and honest conversation with your current boss.

This might be awkward. And also quite stressful. But there’s definitely no point in postponing it until the last minute.

Trust us, having this conversation at an earlier stage is crucial if you want to maintain a positive relationship with your manager and ensure a smooth transition to your future role.

Luckily, there are several ways to move past the challenge of communicating your internal job application to your boss.

To begin with, timing is key here. You’d want to choose the moment carefully.

And with the right mix of preparation, confidence, and practice, you can approach this conversation with ease. Let’s see how!

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The details worth considering when communicating an internal job application with your boss

If you’re the type of person who believes there’s only one good moment to do something, you’d need to choose this moment carefully.

Our top advice here would be to consider your boss’ schedule, workload, and, more generally speaking, personality.

Maybe their schedule is usually quite busy from Monday to Wednesday but things get calmer on Thursday and Friday?

Or maybe you’re aware of some upcoming deadlines or projects they’re currently working on?

Or they might generally like to be aware of all changes well in advance. There are infinite possibilities.

No matter what your specific situation is, make sure you don’t interrupt your boss during a critical moment. And also don’t wait until the last minute.

The safest bet here would definitely be to book a slot well in advance and use this as an opportunity to show consideration of their time.

Another good idea would be to privately mention to them that you’d like the meeting to be dedicated to your professional development. This will highlight your professionalism at a whole new level.

Share your plans and long-term goals

Naturally, you’d want to share your plans well ahead of your start date in the new position.

As mentioned previously, this will showcase your high level of responsibility and accountability.

What’s more, it will also show your clear vision to grow within the company. And that’s something every manager out there will appreciate.

But if there’s anything to be cautious about, it’s the chance of neglecting your current position or team.

We understand that you might be feeling awkward about applying for a new job internally and having to communicate this to your boss. And actually being specific about how the support you’ve received has helped you overcome challenges and acquire new skills can help.

But don’t get too caught up in the past.

Now, don’t get us wrong. It’s important to make sure to highlight how your current position has helped pave the path to success. However, don’t forget to share where you see yourself in 5 or 10 years and how you believe moving to a new position will benefit the process.

Our advice for you here is to be confident and express your voice authentically. At the same time, show that you recognize and appreciate the power your current boss and team have had on your development so far.

This will ensure you part ways with your team on the best note possible. After all, you’ll still potentially be seeing both your boss and your teammates in the office…

Prove your commitment to a smooth transition

Naturally, your boss might not enjoy the idea of you leaving the team. They might not want to lose a professional like you… and that’s completely fair.

And even if you were still at the beginning of your job and didn’t have any major responsibilities, having someone leave the team unexpectedly is always challenging to grasp.

So if you want to navigate your internal job application the best way possible, we recommend taking as many things into account as possible.

This includes putting enough effort into handing your work over to the person who will cover for you.

Preparing a detailed handover might not be the most enjoyable thing to do, we get it. That’s why we’ve put up a short checklist for you to follow:

Checklist icon
Checklist: Ensuring you hand over your work professionally

  • Document all your key work processes and highlight the importance of each of them

  • Share the contact details of key stakeholders

  • Communicate your decision with all external and internal parties and point them to the person they should contact in your absence

  • Schedule calls with the person who will take on your responsibilities to ensure all their questions are answered in detail

  • Introduce your new colleague to all key stakeholders (both internally and externally)

  • Complete all pending tasks and don’t leave work unfinished

  • Express your readiness to answer any other questions that might come up

Communicating your internal job application to your boss: Key takeaways

Working around your decision to apply for a new job internally doesn’t need to be as stressful as it seems.

You can communicate this next step of your career to your boss in a way that shows appreciation and responsibility… but still choose an approach that is as stress-free for yourself as possible.

And if you need help with crafting the perfect resume for your internal job application, you can always turn to our career experts!

Need more guidance? Check out the Enhancv guide on how to quit your job now!

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Volen Vulkov
Volen Vulkov is a resume expert and the co-founder of Enhancv. He has written more than 500 resume guides and deep-dive articles on how to create your resume and cover letter, that inspire job applicants to make a resume to be proud of. His work has been featured in Forbes, Zendesk, HubSpot, and Business Insider, and cited by top universities and educational institutions, like Thunderbird School of Management, Rochester University, University of Miami, and Udemy. Volen applies his deep knowledge and practical experience to write about career changes, development, and how to stand out in the job application process.
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