Careers Advice: Tips when applying for internal vacancies
Gaining a new position with your current employer can be a great way to achieve a career change without losing the benefits you’ve built up during your employment.
Those benefits may include your pension contributions, working with great colleagues, a flexible working arrangement and/or a solid employment history. For many people looking for a career change, there is actually a number of elements of their current job or company that they really like and do not want to lose, but there are particular issues that they want to change or resolve.
Applying for internal vacancies is ideal for maintaining the best of both worlds; you can keep the positive history and practical benefits of your current employment while gaining the challenge and fulfilment of a career change.
So how do you go about applying for internal vacancies? It can be a minefield of office politics, so it’s best to bear the follow suggestions in mind before you apply.
Update Your CV
Start by updating your CV to ensure that you stay in control. If you simply apply for an internal vacancy in the hope that your potential new line manager or boss will know all about you, or can find your details from HR, then you’re missing out on an opportunity to illustrate your skills and experience.
Be clear about how your current role has supported your career development with details of project responsibilities, targets reached and team leadership. Remember that the CV on file for you is likely to be the one that you initially applied to the company with, so a new CV is imperative for your experience to be recognised.
Talk To HR
If you feel your HR department is friendly and helpful, they are a great resource for keeping you informed of internal vacancies. They are usually the first people to know about such vacancies and, as long as you can be sure they will handle your thoughts of changing role and/or department sensitively, they are great to have on side.
Keep Aware of Personnel Changes
Even if you have an honest relationship with your HR department, it is worth conducting your own detective work regarding who may be leaving or changing positions in your company. However small or large your current employer, there are always murmurs of people coming and going, which can give you a valuable insight into the potential internal vacancies that may suit your career change goals.
As long as you approach it in the right way, there is nothing wrong with directly asking the team leaders or line managers of departments that appeal to you if there are any available positions. Perhaps you could start by asking if you could speak to them ‘off the record’ and take it from there. After all, proactivity is a very desirable quality in an employee!
Above all, you do not want to put your current employment in jeopardy by acting indiscreetly in your application to internal vacancies as this could affect your existing job if your employers feel you are not committed. You can deal with this by saying that you are committed to the company but you are keen for a new challenge, but even so it is best to keep your plans private.
If you have an internal vacancies board or internal website with vacancies listed, it is likely that your employers are more open about this, but it is still more professional to be discreet with your plans and application.