How to change jobs without changing companies

In need of a change but don't want to leave the great company you work for? Here's how to move up the hierarchy with an internal transfer


On the one hand, everything is going great. You love the company you are working for. You have great friends across the team. The culture suits you down to the ground. Even the office location gives you an ideal commute. But despite all of that, you hate your job. It is tearing you apart. Should you get a new job that fulfils you professionally but leave the company that you enjoy working for and risk ending up in an unsuitable culture? Luckily, you might not have to sacrifice.

These days, employers are much more willing to explore the possibility of internal transfers. However, an internal transfer is not going to fall from the sky and on to your desk. The process of switching roles internally begins with you assessing what jobs within the company you would be interested in.

Maybe one comes the top of your mind immediately. If so, fantastic. If not, spend some time talking to different people on the team about their day to day roles. A job might look amazing from the outside but the reality might be completely different. Take some time to really think about what you would like to do and then thoroughly research it. You have an advantage already being in the company — pick the brains of those in roles you want.

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Do your research

Figure out how they got their position and then compare your own background to theirs. Maybe through this process, you might realise that you need to do some specific further education to ensure you have the right qualifications to move into the space. Many companies now pay some or all of the costs associated with further education for their employees in relevant fees, so it is worth checking out the policy where you work.

Being on the ground in the company also gives you the option to volunteer to work on specific projects related to the role you would like so you can gain experience. Don’t be afraid to put your hand up and start building a reputation as someone who is enthusiastic and driven. 

Train up

Many large companies, in particular, prefer to retain talent and train them up in other fields instead of losing good people. Find out who else in the company has transferred to different roles or departments and ask them how they did it — maybe you can follow in their footsteps. Ask them how they first broached the topic and how they managed it with their old boss, their new boss, and the HR department.

When you are ready and you know what you want, discuss an internal transfer with your manager or the HR department. Depending on your company and the culture, this might be a casual chat, a formal written request for a transfer or something you bring up in a performance review.

Keep an eye on internal job opportunities as well as external job opportunities. If you apply for roles that are advertised externally, you might be given special consideration as a current employee that knows the company and fits in well already with the culture. However, it is still important to treat internal applications as seriously as you would a job application for a different company. Make sure your CV is perfect and relevant to the role you are applying for.

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Finally, this process will take patience. You might have to convince others that you will be a good fit for a different role. Believe in yourself and set yourself up for success.


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