10 Ways to Network for a Career Change Internally
When we’re employed and fancy a change, we often forget that there may be an opportunity to make that change while staying with our current employer. It’s like blind spot to us. We think we have to completely change direction when seeking to create something brand new, but sometimes what we need for a career change may be right under our nose.
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1. Know Your Strength
Think about how good you are at what you do. Know that you’re good and that you have built a reputation in your company around your own sort of brand. Intuitively you know this as it will regularly be reinforced to you through colleagues asking you to do things they know you’re good at. By tapping into this knowledge of your quality as a professional, you’ll give yourself the confidence to start networking within your organization.
2. Get on the Radar
Where are you on your organization’s radar? What does your employer think of you? An organization thinks about you in terms of how you’re doing but also in terms of what you might do in the future.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Watch out for assumptions that are wrong. People who think they know what they want, make up aspirations and tell one another, “The next thing I want to do is this/I want to stay in this job for 10 years”. This is wrong. Spend some time thinking about what you really want before you start asking others for help with your plans.
4. Be Curious
Commit to talking to your contacts within the company to find out as much as you can about the business and the people in it. Find out and seek to understand what the organization’s objectives are. Where is it heading? What markets is it expanding into or trying to reach? What’s the overall strategy? What products and services are being developed or launched? Find out where it’s going and how you can fit into that by undertaking a new role.
5. Talk to Your Boss
Once you know everything there is know about your organization, the first people to talk about an internal career change to are line managers: Your boss, your boss’ boss, people at that sort of level. These people are the most important ones for you. They’re the people who can approach HR and other teams and departments to vouch for your contribution to them and through them. If you don’t respect that, then you’re in a bad place.
6. Connect With HR
Depending on what you think of HR, they will know a lot about possible new career paths for you and will give a very objective view of what’s best for both you and the company. An HR professional is somebody specifically responsible for making sure talent is in the right place so don’t hesitate to tell them what’s on your mind.
7. Do Your Research
Spend a bit of time doing an external check. This will involve doing a bit of research on which teams or departments have job openings that would allow you to do something you’re good at and like doing.
8. Know Your Price
Check what the going rate is for the role you want. You can do this by using online salary checkers, asking colleagues you’re close to and who are already in that role how much they earn and phoning up recruiters to see how much their clients are offering for similar roles.
9. Seek Internal Support
You might want to just reflect on what internal support you’ve got. This is not about sponsorship; this is about people at a high level in the organization who are going to advocate for you in front of the people who make the decisions about internal job changes. Think about who you can approach and ask for help.
10. Attend Internal Events
Be sure to turn up to as many internal networking events as you can. This will put you in touch with individuals within your organization that you may not necessarily interact with otherwise. Talk to people and listen carefully to them and you might pick up interesting and useful information on the expansion of existing teams or new teams being formed.
By Simon North, Founder of Position Ignition (www.positionignition.com) and the Career Ignition Club (www.careerignitionclub.com), the UK’s leading career change and career development company and platform. He is also the author of 125 LinkedIn Job Search Tips (http://www.positionignition.com/100-linkedin-job-search-tips). Follow him @PosIgnition for more help with your career challenges.