As a recruiter I have daily conversations about people’s ambitions. One thing I’ve noticed is that while people grow in their career, their ambitions change. When you first started applying for jobs, did you already know exactly what you wanted to do? For those few of you who did, we’re all jealous. And for those of us who haven’t quite figured it out, don't fret -- it makes sense that you don’t have your full career path mapped out yet.

Every time you start a new job, at a new company, working with people from different departments, there are probably hundreds of opportunities you hadn’t thought of before. These days, people change jobs on average every four years. And changing jobs is not something small. A lot of time and effort is invested, both on your end, and from your employer. But what if you really like the company you work for and are just looking for a change? How do you go about moving to a new job internally?

Choose the Right Company

It’s good to realize that not every company is invested in helping people move internally. So when interviewing for a job, you definitely want to ask these questions: What's the perspective of this role inside the team and towards different departments? Can you give a few examples of career steps people in this team recently made? And don’t forget to ask about the learning and training opportunities. Internal and external courses can give you the potential to grow as a professional and build the right expertise for different roles.

Every company wants to hold on to great talent. Did you ever realize how much a company invested in hiring and training you? I assure you, it’s a lot. So moving internally is really a win-win situation.

Be Certain

You want to be 100% certain about your potential move. So make sure to do your research. Connect with colleagues on the team you want to work for and build a relationship with your potential future manager. Are these people who you want to work with? What are their day-to-day challenges and successes? You don’t want to make a move because the grass seems greener.

One major advantage you do have by moving careers internally is that you already work at the company, and can get way more information about the work and team than for any external job you interview for, or an external candidate applying to the same role as you. Think of ways you can work with your potential new team so you can get a real feel for the role and how they work together. Are there any projects you can help them with? Collaboration is a great way to show off your skills and learn new ones that will be valuable in the new job role.

Inform Your Manager

Now that you know what you want, it’s time to drop the bomb. Depending on the relationship you have with your manager, I’d advise telling them first. Good managers are invested in your success and growth, and your manager can be a great help. They have seen you work, know your strengths and weaknesses, and can be an asset when preparing for your interviews and putting in a good word for you to the hiring manager.

Inform Your Potential Manager

Before starting an official interviewing process, you should get a feel of whether or not your potential manager sees a fit between you and the team, and you and the job role. Set up a meeting with them to talk about your interest in the role and gauge their thoughts on whether or not you're a good fit for the job and the team, but make sure it's also a good fit for you. Ask questions based on what they’ve seen so far of you -- does your work process and goals align with theirs? How do they feel about you being part of the team? And especially, what can you do additionally to be successful in the interviewing process?

Take the Risk

I’ve seen the most unlikely moves happen. I remember someone moving from being a surgeon to consultancy, support to engineering. Even when things might seem impossible, remember everything is possible as long as you set your mind to it. There's no fun in making a big career jump if there isn't a bit of risk involved. Sure, it's going to be a bit scary, but transparency is key. Have those discussions up front with your manager and potential manager to set yourself up for success before diving too deep into the interview process. 

Last month, I took the risk. As I mentioned, I’m a recruiter here at HubSpot, but I’ve recently decided to move internally to our Dublin Sales team in the biggest career decision I've ever made. And, I got the job! I’m even in our HQ office in Cambridge, MA as we speak, going through my first round of training for my new role. These are the steps I've shared with countless other HubSpotters, and the ones that were successful in landing my own internal job move. Use these four steps as a guideline for starting the conversation of an internal move with your manager. A good company will want to see you grow and succeed, and encourage you to try new things whenever possible. That’s when you know that you’ve found the right fit.


Originally published Jun 11, 2018 9:30:00 AM, updated January 19 2023