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Applying for an Internal Position: FAQs & How-Tos

Are you considering a job change? A great place to look is within your current organization, especially if you like your coworkers and company culture.  Whether you want to change career paths, transition to a similar but different role, change departments, promote to the next level, or relocate, it’s possible to search for the perfect position without changing companies. Read on to learn how.


Applying for an Internal Position FAQs:


How can you search for internal job openings?

Companies typically post internal jobs on their company career page. If you’re not sure where internal jobs are housed, speak with someone in your HR or recruiting department. Once you know where to look, check the page regularly to watch for positions of interest.


Online job application


Do you need to go through a formal application process?

In short, yes. Companies often have an internal job application process. If the internal job posting and application policy aren’t posted online, search out what best practices are from your HR department and follow them. You can generally find details on how and where to apply on the internal job posting as well.

When applying for an internal position, similar rules to an external job application apply. Customize your application materials, including your resume and cover letter, to target the job posting. Your resume for an internal position should be up to date with information for your current position. It’s also wise to include a cover letter, even if it’s not required.

Here’s an email cover letter example to guide you:

Cover Letter for Internal Position Example

Email Subject Line – IT Supervisor Internal Job Application – John Smith

Email Body

Dear [Name],

I am pleased to submit my application for IT Supervisor that is posted internally. As a professional with over 10 years of diversified experience in IT, I believe I am well positioned to lead the IT department here at [Company Name]. In my current position as [Title] with [department], I have:

•Streamlined five IT systems to a global platform for 2K employees, reducing the cost of outdated systems and administration by $50K.

•Implemented a companywide IT needs request application process.

•Served as the leader of our eight-person systems administration team supporting 8K employees in North America.

My resume and references are attached for your review. I would very much like the opportunity to discuss how I can meet the demands of the IT Supervisor role. I can be reached at [your phone number] or [your email].

Best Regards,

John Smith


How should you approach the interview?

When considering how to prepare for an internal interview, take time to practice. Many internal interview questions are like the questions you’d be asked for an external interview. To help you prepare:

  • Look at the job post and make a list of the required competencies and skills.
  • Make a list of your competencies and skills that match the list from the job post.
  • Research and develop a list of possible interview questions.
  • Use your list of competencies and skills as a starting point to craft answers to possible interview questions. Consider past examples that highlight how you handled challenges at work.
  • Practice interviewing.

You also want to dress to impress. Be thoughtful on your wardrobe selection and align with your company’s dress code policy the day of your interview.


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What other job search best practices should you follow?

Begin networking. A good word from your supervisor and other supervisors and coworkers could benefit your application. Learn as much as you can about the position and department from current team members so you can put your best foot forward. Also, line up two to three personal and professional references in case they’re needed.


When and how should you tell your supervisor?

Some company policies provide explicit instructions on when to tell your supervisor you’re applying for an internal position and sometimes require you to get their blessing beforehand. Regardless, it’s best to verbally tell your supervisor before applying as they should learn from you rather than from someone else.

To approach the conversation, focus on the appreciation you have for your current job. Let your supervisor know how much you enjoy working in the position and that you’re interested in applying for the posted position for new opportunities and career growth.


What should you do following the interview?

As you wait with bated breath on a response, remain positive and send an internal interview thank you email to each individual who interviewed you.


What happens if you don't get the job?

Only one person will make the cut for the internal opening. If it’s not you, it’s understandable if hard feelings surface. However, keep your head high and remain positive to not burn bridges. Other opportunities will come along for you to apply to. Further, the only people who typically know you applied are you, your supervisor, the recruiting team, and the hiring manager, so there is no need to worry about awkwardness.

If you’re curious about why you didn’t get the position, you can ask the hiring manager for feedback. They might not be able to tell you based on company policy, but it might help you plan for future interviews if they can.

For more advice on applying for internal jobs and the job hunt overall, visit our Job Seeker Resource Center.

By iHire | March 03, 2022
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