When it comes to requesting an internal transfer, you don’t want to start off on the wrong foot.

Have you been working under the same boss for the past few years and feel like you need a change? Do you believe that there is a better job scope for you in a different department? Is there a different role in your company that will allow you to evolve and grow? If you answered yes to any of the above, then it's time to request for an internal transfer.

Requesting for a transfer does not necessarily imply that you're unhappy with your current job. Instead, a lateral move allows you to seek out promotions and diversify your portfolio. If you desperately want change but don't know where to begin, fret not! Here are five effective tips to follow when asking for an internal transfer.

Do your homework

The first step you should take before talking to your boss is to read through the company's transfer policy. A lot of companies require employees to be in a position for a minimum number of years before requesting for a lateral transfer, so the last thing you'd want to do is to request for a transfer before you meet this requirement, as that could easily backfire. You'll end up with no chance of moving to a different team and stuck with a boss who knows you want to leave at some point. Additionally, be sure to clarify the internal application process with your HR representative prior to having this delicate conversation with your boss. There is a big difference between going to your employer with a well-thought-out plan and an impractical demand!

Upgrade your resume

Once you have researched and identified the positions available for internal transfer in your company, it's time to upgrade your resume. Read through the job description in the advertised role thoroughly,  identifying the critical skills that the new department is seeking from candidates. Then, list down your skills and experience that match the new position. If you haven't updated your resume in a long time, it would be a great idea to submit it for an expert review to check and make sure your resume highlights your achievements and is keyword optimized — increasing your chances of landing your dream job.

Once you have upgraded your resume, make sure to also identify the gaps between your skill set and the requirements for the new job. If possible, come up with a strategic plan to acquire those skills in the next few months to try to close the gaps as much as possible prior to applying for the job. If this isn't feasible, remember to highlight your plan to acquire the necessary competencies during your job interview. By doing this, you are showing your potential employer not only that you care about your professional growth, but also that you're proactive.

Brush up on your networking skills

When you want to request for an internal transfer, your networking skills should be sharp. You'll never be able to fully understand the open position from the job description alone, and it helps tremendously to talk to someone senior in the new department to better understand the work culture and work expectations. Make it a point to mingle with colleagues from different departments rather than just staying within your own clique. This way, you can find out more about job openings and market your skills to potential managers informally before even going in for the interview! Networking is also a great way to keep updated with the recent news in the company, even those updates that are not directly related to your current job scope.

Make it clear that it's not personal

The fact that you are asking for an internal transfer doesn't mean that you're unhappy with your current boss, so make that clear! Explain to your boss why you're looking for this shift in your career. It'll help to explain how you will add value to the new team with your technical expertise and why that is in the company's best interest. Make sure that you also articulate your gratitude for the experience you have gained from your current team.

Even if you're requesting for an internal transfer because you're unhappy with the current manager, don't apply to several openings within the same week. That just shows that you're desperate to jump ship. Instead, space out your requests and continue keeping your head down until you're granted the transfer.

Offer to train a replacement before leaving

When you ask for an internal transfer, you are essentially leaving your boss in a stressful position of finding a replacement for you in a short period of time. Now under stress, they might, in turn, take it out on you. In order to maintain a good relationship with your boss, even after you request for a lateral transfer, be sure to offer to make their life easier by training a replacement prior to leaving. Even if this means working extra hours to keep up with your current assignments and the task of training a replacement, it's worth it as your boss would really appreciate your courtesy. There's nothing wrong with requesting for a job transfer, just make sure to be mindful of your others' feelings in the process.

Overall, requesting an internal transfer requires a level of tact, courtesy, and knowledge of the process. Before you're ready to jump ship and dive into a new department, make sure you follow these tips and prepare yourself.

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