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Should You Make the Move Up the Internal Ladder?

How to know whether to make the climb inside the company.

You love your company. You’re treated well and you respect what they stand for. Still, you’re not completely happy with your job. It could be that you’ve become bored with what you do or that you simply see no upward path for your career from your current spot. Perhaps you feel you need to add a different dimension to your resume to start to move up the ladder.

Here’s the good news -  you may not have to leave your company to make a change. Internal moves within companies happen all the time. People switch from one role to another or one department to another for a number of reasons.

If you’re getting the itch to venture into something new, but not leave the company, there are some things you should consider first before applying for an internal position. Here are eight things to keep in mind when contemplating an internal career move.

1. Is it a vertical or horizontal move?

In other words, will you be giving yourself a promotion by moving to that new position? If so, that can make the move a lot easier to justify both to yourself and your current boss. It’s an opportunity to keep climbing the ladder and moving your career forward.

If it’s a lateral move, that is not necessarily a bad thing, either. Lateral moves can make a lot of sense if you feel stuck in a rut or simply want to try a different type of job. You may not make more money or benefits, but you’ll gain added experience.

2. Will you like the work?

This seems like a no-brainer, but you need to consider it. Are you making a move just to make a move or do you think you’d actually like the work you’d be doing? If you’ve become bored with your current position, a move can make a lot of sense. Enjoying what you do can be just as important to your career as the money your work brings in. Before applying for an internal position, look carefully at what your new job would entail and compare it to what you currently do. Which do you like better?

3. Will it affect your benefits?

If you make a move right now, will you lose out on your annual bonus for your department? Are there other perks you are in line to get that may disappear? If you’ve been in your current position for a while, you’ve spent precious time and energy building up some benefits. Depending on the company and your situation, some of those may not follow you to your new department.

These benefits may or may not be deal breakers for you, but you need to consider them before taking the leap.

4. What is the new department’s reputation?

Like it or not, different departments within a company develop their own reputations. Do the people working in that department generally seem happy? Do they get projects done on time? Is there a lot of gossip about or coming from that department? You want to make sure that you’re not moving into a toxic work environment.

The group you work with can be just as important as the work you’re doing. Moving from a great department to one that is questionable is a big risk, even if you think you’d love the work itself.

Perhaps you think you’d be the one to bring the department around, and that’s great, but just be aware of the group you’re moving to. It could make or break your happiness in that new role.

5. Where is the new department located?

Again, this may seem obvious, but location matters. This could be as big as moving to a new department that is located across the country (or world) in a bigger company. If that’s the case, there are serious things to consider. Are you looking to move? Is your family on board? How would that affect your spouse’s job?

Or, your internal change may just mean moving from one floor to another or to a different building. Even so, does that affect your parking situation? Will an extra set of stairs drive you nuts? It pays to consider the little things before it’s too late.

6. Is there room to move up?

If you are looking to move up the ladder, this is especially important. If you feel stuck in your current role, why make a move to a different department if you’ll be in the same situation? In that situation, it may be time to look for a new company instead of applying for an internal position. However, if making that move could open you up to promotion opportunities down the line, making the internal move could be a great career booster. Developing knowledge in multiple departments can make you an attractive candidate for management. It’s important to see your career path. Don’t make moves that take you off that path unless you believe they will make you happier.

7. Will it make you more marketable?

This is similar to number six, but with a wider lens. Perhaps you’re not committed to staying with your current company. An internal move that will help you flesh out your resume can be a great way to make you more appealing for that next job, wherever it may be. Look at your resume. Then, head to LinkedIn and look at the resumes of some people who are doing what you really want to do. What experience are you lacking? If making an internal move with your current company can fill those gaps and make you more marketable in your career field, that could make it worthwhile.

8. Will you leave your current team in a bind?

While you may be ready to move on, you also need to consider the current situation in your department. Are you in the middle of a big project? If you were to move off of the team, is that going to wreak havoc? Your boss may already be unhappy that you want to move out of the department. You don’t want to burn bridges by leaving chaos behind you. That being said, there may never be a perfect time to move on. If possible, try to make sure you tie up what loose ends you can and prepare your current team for life without you. It will make you look good to both the department you’re leaving and the one bringing you on. Remember, you’re staying with the same company, so you should all have the greater good in mind.

Internal moves can be great for your career, but they come with a number of considerations that may not be big factors when you’re moving from one company to another. Keeping the focus on your career, your happiness, and your reputation can help you decided whether or not making that move to a new job and a new department makes sense for you.

Hire a TopResume professional resume writer to help you make the right professional move.

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