How To Request A Job Transfer Within The Same Company

Male Manager listening to a female employee share her wish for a job transfer

Maybe you’ve been in the same role for years and are struggling to stay motivated. Maybe you love your company but have realized your particular job doesn’t use your skills to their full potential. Maybe you just want to try something new. 

For all of these situations, an internal transfer can be a viable solution. In an internal transfer, an employee moves to a different role, a different location, or both while remaining employed by the same company. 

Good employers recognize that strong employees won’t want to stay in the same place forever and will do everything in their power to retain them. Transitioning said employee to a different job in a different department is a strategy that can make both parties happy. 

We’ll outline some reasons changing jobs within your company might be a good choice and share some tips for how to request an internal transfer. 

Reasons For Transferring Jobs Within Your Company

Desire for something new

Discovering new interests is a natural part of professional life. If you’ve decided you might want to pursue one of those interests as part of your career path, an internal transfer can allow you to do so at a company where you already know the systems and understand the culture. 

Greater opportunity for advancement

Some occupations offer limited paths for advancement. Those paths might not always be open to you, especially if someone else holds the only available job title above yours and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon. If you’re looking for an opportunity to grow in your career, moving to a different department might offer it. 

Change locations

If your family is relocating for your spouse’s job or you just want a change of scenery, consider an internal transfer to one of your company’s offices in another city. If you’re happy with your current role, you may be able to keep the same job function. 

Manage internal conflict

In cases of workplace conflict, the first option should always be to reach a resolution where both parties are able to work together cordially. Sometimes, however, this proves unattainable. If the company wishes to retain both employees, sometimes transferring one or both of them to a different department can solve the problem. 

Benefits Of An Internal Transfer

Acquire new skills

An internal transfer enables you to expand your resume by learning new skills. This could broaden your career opportunities in the future, both within your existing company and elsewhere. 

Advance your career

A transfer within your company could open doors, like giving you the opportunity to move into a leadership role or head up new projects. It also gives you the chance to make new professional connections, form relationships, and meet mentors, which could benefit you for years to come. 

Avoid having to job search

Switching to a different job at your existing company allows you to enjoy the fresh inspiration that comes with starting a new position, without the hassle of an extensive job search. Instead of filling out multiple applications, jumping through hoops, and waiting to hear back from companies, you’ll only have to apply once (and maybe not at all, depending on how your company handles transfers). 

Maintain accrued benefits

One of the most tedious parts of starting a new job is having to press reset on all your benefits. You lose accrued vacation time, have to pick a new healthcare plan and alert all your providers to it, and move your retirement savings. With an internal transfer, all of your existing benefits come with you to your new role. Also, you’ll hold onto the intrinsic benefits like the friendships you built with your old teammates. 

4 Tips for Requesting a Job Transfer Within the Same Company

1. Zero in on a position

When you’re requesting an internal transfer, it’s best to go into the process with a position that you want in mind. This gets your request off on a much stronger foot than if you went to your boss and said “I want to move somewhere else,” but had no idea where. 

You’ll be able to make the best case for a transfer within your company if you learn as much as possible about the position you want ahead of time. Who currently holds the position, or who is leaving it? What are the required qualifications? What do the job duties look like? This intel will come in handy in step four when it’s time to compose your transfer request. 

2. Talk to your boss

If you have a strong relationship with your boss, your best bet is to talk with them about your plans to seek a transfer before going to HR or anyone else. If they’re blindsided by your request, it could reflect poorly on them and they might even try to prevent it from happening. 

If you approach your boss as your ally in advancing your career, they may be able to give you pointers or make an introduction within the company that strengthens your chances of getting the role you want. They’ll be more likely to give you a strong positive reference if they understand your motivations for the transfer. 

Related: How to Ask For a Reference

3. Look for opportunities to connect

Seek out opportunities that will increase your visibility on the team you’re looking to join. Could you volunteer to help out on one of their projects? Shadow someone who’s doing the work you’re interested in? If you don’t already know the hiring manager for the job you want, do some recon work to find out if anyone in your network could make an introduction with you so you can start building rapport before they’re asked to consider you for the job. 

Related: How to Network

4. Write a transfer request letter

When you’re ready to officially request a transfer, the next step is to write a job transfer request letter. Similar to a cover letter that you submit when applying for a new job, a transfer request letter states the position that you’re seeking and makes the case for why you’re a good choice.

A transfer letter should contain the following components:

  • Salutation. Address the person you’re writing to. This is usually someone in your HR department, but you might also write the letter to your manager or the hiring manager for the job you want.
  • Introduction. Say who you are and what job you currently hold. 
  • Statement of the job you’re interested in. If you were referred by someone in the company, mention it here. 
  • Why you want the position. Cite your professional reasons for seeking a transfer. 
  • Your qualifications. Outline what makes you the right candidate for the job, supporting your case with concrete examples. 
  • Conclusion. Wrap up with your contact information and your enthusiasm about the opportunity. 

Sample Internal Transfer Request Letter

Mr. Johnson, 

My name is Brittany MacDonald and I’m currently a member of the technical support team here at Innovision. I recently learned there was an opening for a junior developer in the product department, and I’m writing to be considered for a transfer.

During my two years as a support specialist, I’ve become well-versed in the nuances of our software. I’ve developed a reputation for being able to assist customers with complex issues swiftly, consistently maintaining an average handle time well under our target goals. It was during these interactions that I realized my deep knowledge of our customers’ issues could be an asset to the product team. 

I’m detail-oriented and results-driven. While I enjoy collaborating with a team, I’m also able to work independently with ease. Transferring to the product department would allow me to enhance my skills while helping to bridge the gap between our developers and our customers. 

I have greatly enjoyed my time with Innovision and the relationships I’ve built here. I’m excited about the opportunity to grow with the company, and I look forward to discussing the position with you further. I can be reached at 789-012-3456.

Sincerely, 

Brittany MacDonald

If possible, use your letter to show how a transfer would benefit you and the company. Before sending it, check with HR to see if you need to also complete an application, which some companies require even for internal transfers. 

Pete Newsome

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the president of 4 Corner Resources, the nationally acclaimed staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. His mission back then was the same as it is today: to do business in a personal way, while building an organization with boundless opportunities for ingenuity and advancement. When not managing 4 Corner’s growth or spending time with his family of six, you can find Pete sharing his sales and business expertise though public speaking, writing, and as the host of the Hire Calling podcast.