There is no questioning the tough climate we are living in at the moment in terms of the availability of new open jobs. The tide appears to be shifting, however, and many experts and top recruitment professionals are pointing to a slight increase in new openings over the next 1-3 months. We are living in a very candidate rich market, but one area that should not be overlooked for new opportunities is within your own organization. As companies continue to re-align their organizations as result of recent downsizing, mergers & acquisitions, financial belt-tightening and/or competitive pressures; internal openings are becoming more readily available.
In recent weeks, I have worked with a number of prospective candidates to provide career coaching, resume writing and interview preparation services. Many of these candidates are currently seeking new opportunities while many others are simply hoping to hold on to their exisiting roles or at least their current company. I have watched many internal candidates conduct their job search very differently (and not very well) when targeting an internal role versus an external role. Many candidates are doing more damage to their efforts than helping their case.
There are several things to remember when posting for a role within your existing organization. Perhaps one of the most important things is to make your internal corporate recruiter an advocate on your behalf, not an obstacle to overcome. Follow these guidelines below to avoid common pitfalls and to increase your probability of becoming the chosen internal hire.
Your Internal Recruiting Advocate
1. REMOVE ALL UNNECESSARY ACRONYMS FROM YOUR RESUME. Just because you may work for the same organization does not mean the the corporate recruiter fully understands or can communicate the meaning of those acronyms you use in your role every day to a potential hiring manager. The corporate recruiter is often responsible for recruiting for many functional areas within an organization and may not know the exact difference between a GSO (Global Sales Office) and an EST (Enterprise Sales Team), for example. So spell it out. Make sure your resume is clear and can easily articulate your background and qualifications as it matches up to this new role.
2. DON'T ASSUME YOU WILL AUTOMATICALLY GET CONSIDERATION BECAUSE YOU CURRENTLY WORK FOR THE COMPANY. The corporate recruiter is tasked with presenting the most highly qualified candidate in the market for the role. It may be you, but there is also an abundance of top talent in the market today, so you will not necessarily have a leg-up simply because your current business card has the company's name on it. Shift your thinking to making yourself stand out above all the competition, not just internally. In fact, you may have to work just that much harder to prove your worth to a new division of your existing company than an external person has to the organization overall. Why? Because the external person is being evaluated and matched up to one specific set of qualifications for the new role. You will need to illustrate to the recruiter and all internal decision makers why it makes sense to transition you from your current role and function to this new job within the company. Some hiring managers and recruiters have a thought process that if you have the proper skill sets for this new role, why wouldn't you already be in the role? It may not be a logical conclusion, but can play a role in the selection process. Therefore, you must be prepared to address this perception.
3. CAPITALIZE ON YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE COMPANY'S CULTURE AND BUSINESS OBJECTIVES. You are already part of the organization. You attend monthly or quarterly meetings, you have a insider's view of the mission, value, goals and objectives of the organization. In your discussions with the corporate recruiter, be creative! Show them in a clear and concise way the successes and value you have brought to the organization in your existing role and how that aligns with the company's goals. For example, don't assume that just because you are part of a sales force that just successfully launched a new product, that you will be seen as a key factor in that success. Illustrate your personal contribution to the success of that sales effort through the use of documentation, internal references, a brag book, a Powerpoint presentation or any other form of data or accolade. Make sure the recruiter has the clear picture of brand "YOU". It makes it tangible and concise for the recruiter and they, in turn, will be able to present you to a hiring manager in a way that makes them a real advocate on your behalf, rather than just submitting another resume.
4. SELL YOURSELF TO THE CORPORATE RECRUITER. Do not be afraid to ask them to share their knowledge of what the hiring manager for the internal role is truly looking for. Ask them why the role is open in that other department. Create a relationship with the recruiter. If he/she can relate to you, they will be more likely to want to help you in the best way they can. They may be able to provide insights to corporate or departmental changes that will only be an asset to you during the interview process. Do not view the discussion with the recruiter as a necessary evil in the internal posting process. Use them as a resource to gather as much information as you can, and in return, apply that knowledge to become the best prepared and qualified candidate.
5. OFFER REFERRALS TO THE CORPORATE RECRUITER. Even if you are not selected for the internal role, offer your recruiter other referrals - both internal and external. The recruiter will, in all likelihood, have other open positions available in the very near term and your referrals will keep your name visible to the recruiter and top-of-mind to hiring managers. You have a unique perspective on the organization because you are on the inside track and will be able to recommend the best people. This will raise your internal profile and demonstrate your willingness to help the company achieve its overall hiring goals and not that you are simply looking out of number one. Even in a competitive world that we live in today, when you help others without asking for anything in return it will come back to you tenfold!
6. BE GRATEFUL! Its not enough to say you are grateful to have a job while so many others are on the street looking for their next role. Act grateful. Be grateful. Do what you can on a daily basis to continue to improve yourself personally and professionally. It will only make you that much more of a valuable asset - in your existing company or for a new employer.