To give your career a boost or a new direction, it is not always necessary to resign from your current employer. Your employer may be open to an internal transfer to a new position or another department. With clear agreements and good preparation, such an internal switch can be a godsend for both parties.

Bo Beintema, Recruitment Consultant at staffing specialist Walters People, made an internal switch within the Robert Walters Group herself. She shares some do's and don'ts when considering an internal move.  


1. Make your reasons concrete  

Sometimes you have a clear reason for an internal switch, but it can also just be a gut feeling. Bo: "However difficult it may be, try to put this feeling into words by listing all the pros and cons. That way it will become clear whether an internal switch is effectively the right solution. Moreover, sooner or later, you will have to present the reasons for the switch to your supervisor and others involved. That way you are already well prepared."  

2. Inform your supervisor in time   

"The decision to make an internal transfer usually doesn't happen overnight. If you are sure about your choice, let your manager know as soon as possible. If you feel uncomfortable doing so, it may help to first speak with a confidential advisor within the organization. They can advise you on further steps and communication with your manager," says Bo.  

3. Check your competition and your reputation  

"If you work at a large organization, chances are that other colleagues are also applying for the same internal vacancy. Let your supervisor know in time that this role seems interesting to you and, in addition, gauge how likely you are to land this job," Bo advises. "You can also actively involve him or her in the internal application process and ask for further advice."   

In addition, be aware of your internal reputation. Do you have a good relationship with the colleagues from the team you want to work in? How is the team in question composed and what consequences will your arrival bring?  

4. Expand your internal network  

Bo: "If you know in which team or department you would like to work, it is a good idea to get closer to your potential new colleagues. Informal chats will give you additional information about the working methods and responsibilities, enabling you to make an informed choice. In addition, you can build a better relationship with these colleagues and expand your internal network. Thus, the threshold for switching becomes a little smaller."  



1. Expecting preferential treatment  

"No matter how big or small the organization: take your internal switch seriously and don't expect the colleagues with whom you are interviewing to be less critical in their decision. Prepare your interviews as well as you would for an external application," says Bo.  

2. Telling colleagues too soon that you want to switch internally  

Bo: "Discuss with your supervisor and others how and when you want to get the news of your internal switch out. Don't share your wishes for the switch with your colleagues from the start, especially if an extensive selection process still follows.

Provided the necessary discretion is exercised, peace will be maintained within the teams ultimately involved in this change."  

3. Waiting for an internal vacancy  

"There doesn't necessarily have to be a vacancy for the team you want to work in; you can also switch to a position you create yourself. If you know the organization like the back of your hand, you will undoubtedly know where improvement opportunities lie and how to address them," Bo continues. "If you can substantiate why you are the right person for this challenge, chances are you will be heard. After all, your proactivity shows that you are loyal, ambitious and disciplined."  

4. Letting yourself off the hook in the face of rejection  

"Of course, it may happen that you don't get hired for an internal vacancy, or that it's simply not possible to start working on another team. Don't let this stop you. Your supervisor knows that you need change and that you sought it internally in the first place. This loyalty increases the likelihood that your supervisor will look for ways to keep you on board and provide the opportunities you need at that time," concludes Bo.


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