How to Finesse a Promotion at Work

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It's no secret that it's easiest to get a job with a company where you are already working – that is, assuming you have a good work reputation. However, navigating an internal transfer can be tricky in some organizations. Keep these tips in mind if you're hoping to land a new job at your current company.


From the moment you join the company, always be networking. The more people who know, like and trust you at the organization and who are willing to put a good word in for you, the better your chances for an internal transfer. Join committees and teams. If your company participates in group volunteer efforts or engages in any team sports or group events, be sure to join. You could meet a lot of possible contacts while playing on the organization's softball team or while volunteering at the local soup kitchen. Look for every opportunity to meet new people.

Be agreeable.

No one wants to work with Negative Nelly or Nasty Nate. If you're Kind Kate and Get it Done Greg, you'll go far in your quest for a promotion and you'll earn a reputation as someone who is nice to have around. In many cases, being a strong team player and helpful in a pinch is more valuable than your actual skills on the job. Don't forget that you're always making an impression at work, and if you have your eyes on an internal promotion, make a point to mind your P's and Q's.

Keep an eye on openings.

It would be great if you can be invited to apply for a new opportunity, but your organization should have an internal job board and you need to keep an eye on it. However, there is no need to tell the whole world you're looking to find a new job. Quietly keep your eyes open, but keep focused on your current position and responsibilities.

Apply seriously.

When you do find an appropriate opening, make sure you take it seriously and apply with updated and targeted materials. You should expect to be interviewed and scrutinized to the same degree – or more – as any candidate. Do not waste any opportunity, especially if applying could negatively affect your relationship with your current boss. Practice what you will say in interviews and be prepared to answer for anything you have done at work.

Talk to your boss.

When you're applying for a transfer or promotion, it's time to talk to your boss. Even if you don't really like working for him or her, make sure to be congenial and explain how and why the promotion is a good fit for you and how you plan to continue to contribute at the company. It can't hurt to comment on how much you've learned from your boss (if that's true). Specifically ask for his or her support and get a sense of whether or not you can count on it.

As with any career goal, an internal transfer doesn't happen without a lot of time, effort and energy on your part, but with some planning, you may be able to land a new job without changing your commute!