4 things to do when you want to leave one team for another at work

Attempting to switch teams at the company you work for can be a slippery slope — here’s how to make the whole process a little more painless for you.

Attempting to switch your team at the company you work for can be a slippery slope — here’s how to make the whole process a little more painless for you.

Branch out beforehand

This is definitely a good idea.

Joyce E.A. Russell, PhD, currently the Helen and William O’Toole Dean of the Villanova School of Business, writes in The Washington Post about how you should do this.

“Build your internal network long before you attempt an internal move. Make sure others in the firm know about your contributions. By serving on project teams or company-wide teams with employees from other departments, you enable them to learn more about you and your performance,” she writes.

Have a conversation with your manager

Don’t forget this.

Donna Rosato, Senior Editor at Consumer Reports, answered a question in Money Magazine about wanting to apply for a position on another team at work, and if you should have a conversation with your manager about it.

“In most cases, yes. Telling your manager you are going for another position may be awkward, but if she hears about it second-hand — and that’s a real possibility with an internal opening — that’ll be an even more uncomfortable conversation. Worse, the news could create a rift in your relationship that could make it tougher to do your job,” she replies.

Rosato’s piece also includes insight from Heather Huhman, president and founder of Come Recommended, who cautions that you shouldn’t alert your boss before the interview if it will have a negative consequences.

Don’t lose your focus on the current tasks at hand

Richard Moy, currently a content marketing writer at Stack Overflow, writes in The Muse about how he spoke to his manager about switching teams internally in the past, but it didn’t work out. One of his tips in hindsight is to “focus on what you’re currently working on.”

He writes that when he tried to make the switch, he still met basic requirements at work, but he “started spending too much time planning my hypothetical move,” which had a negative impact on his performance.

But Moy recommends doing this instead:

“When you’ve identified a department you want to transfer to, come up with a game plan for how to build your skills and present yourself as a great candidate. But, while you’re doing that, make sure the projects you’re currently working on are your main priority,” he writes. “Of course, this will pay huge dividends when a job you’re interested becomes available. More importantly though, your current boss will respect your work ethic and be more likely to wish you the best — regardless of your next step.”

Act like you’re starting at Square One again – because you are

Alison Doyle, an author, career expert and founder and CEO of CareerToolBelt.com, writes in The Balance about how this is the approach you should take.

Be sure that you are just as careful about presenting your qualifications to hiring managers when applying for a job within the company as you would be when applying for an external job. Don’t assume that internal staff knows about all your strengths and accomplishments in great detail,” she writes. “Itemize and document your credentials to make sure they understand that you are very well suited for the job. In addition, be sure to have references within the company who can attest to your skills.”

Jane Burnett|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at jburnett@theladders.com.