Want to Work in a Different Department? Here’s How to Tell Your Boss It’s Time to Transfer

Approaching your boss for a transfer can be difficult, especially if you’ve been working for the same person for a few years. Understandably, you’d want a change at some point. At the same time, you don’t want your boss to take your request personally and you don’t want to leave your team shorthanded. So, how do you ask for a transfer without burning any bridges? We have answers that may help.

Why Do You Need a Transfer?

The first step is to think through the “why” behind the transfer so it’s clear in your mind. A transfer doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re unhappy in your current position. You may just want to try something new and add to your skills. It could be that you want your career to go in a different direction or maybe you’re hoping for better advancement opportunities in a different department. All of these are valid reasons that have nothing to do with your boss at all. But even if the transfer is about your current boss, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for it. Here’s how to appropriately ask for a transfer:

  1. Understand the rules about transferring.
    Make sure you are eligible to transfer before making the request. Many companies require you to be in a role for a certain amount of time before you can request a transfer to a different one.
  2. Network your way to the transfer.
    Be sure the transfer is to a department that not only aligns with your career goals but where you’ll fit in culturally. The best way to know this is to get to know the people in the department you’re transferring to. Ask to grab lunch with the managers or team members and request to schedule a job shadow to learn more about the role and the dynamics of the team.
  3. Update your resume.
    Follow the processes set by the company to apply and interview for the transfer. Your new manager may want to see your background, which will likely require a resume update, especially if you’ve been in the same role with the company for a while. Tailor your resume to showcase all the things you’ve learned in your current position, your accomplishments, and what you can bring to the new role based on the job description.
  4. How to ask for the transfer.
    Here’s where we get to the tricky part. But only if you’re not prepared. First, schedule the meeting with your boss at a time when they hopefully are not too busy and distracted. When you meet, explain that you’d like to apply to another position within the company that has opened. Explain your “why” for wanting to transfer and why you think your skills and experience make this role the right fit for you and your career growth. Thank your boss for the perspective you’ve gained from your current team and explain that you’re not unhappy with your boss, the department, or the work (even if you are this is a good approach) but that you’d like to explore other opportunities within the company.
  5. Offer to set up your replacement.
    In order to help your boss and teammates recover from your loss, offer to train your replacement. Develop a transition plan for the new employee to help your boss successfully transition that person into your role. If you get the transfer, make sure your documentation is in order and you don’t leave too much unfinished business. This sets everyone up for success and helps equip your replacement with the knowledge needed to take over the work necessary to keep the business moving forward.

Sometimes it may not be an internal transfer that you need. If you’re looking for a change of scenery, Blackstone Talent Group can help you find a new home. We work with top employers to match their jobs to the best IT talent in the industry. Call on us. We can help advance your career.

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