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How to Prepare a Resume For an Internal Job

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The economy is better, hiring has rebounded nicely and you, along with many others in today’s workforce, are looking towards greener pastures. However, unlike other job seekers, you may actually like the company that you work for just not the position you have. If that’s the case, jumping ship doesn’t make sense but moving up the corporate ladder does. There are often many opportunities for internal advancement within a company, but employees don’t think they qualify or don’t know how to apply for them properly. By the end of this guide, you will know how to take a bland resume and create a powerful presentation of your professionalism and qualifications that will make any hiring manager sit up and take notice. Are you ready? Let’s get started.

Start Over From Scratch

Most people already have a resume. So, when it comes time to apply for a new job, they just dust it off in an effort to save time and effort. However, the truth is that it’s much better to start completely over. While your old resume will be an invaluable reference document, your focus should be on where you want to go rather than where you have been. A new resume helps you focus on the new job. In addition, HR already has your old resume on file, and you want to show them that you’ve made significant progress since the initial hiring. Remember, you don’t want your resume to prove that you’re the perfect employee for your current position. You want it to prove that you are perfect for the new one.

Polish Your Professional Profile

As an internal candidate, your profile is one of the most powerful resume components at your disposal. If your old resume still has an objective at the top of it, delete it completely. Objectives focus too much on what you want, while profiles focus on what the employer wants. Customize this short paragraph to display the skills and competencies you posses which directly relate to the position that you want. Let’s say you are an account manager who wants to move up into a sales manager position. In addition to emphasizing customer relationship skills, which are important for both roles, you would also want to focus on numbers and leadership abilities, which are the primary concerns of a sales manager. Additionally, your profile is a great place to mention that you are proficient with any required software and systems that the company uses. Taking all of this into account, here is what a professional profile may look like for our sales rep.

Professional Profile
High-performing Account Representative with exemplary communication instincts and an ability to engage new and existing customers to discover opportunities and generate shared valued. Seven years of successful experience at Acme corporation establishing strong client relationships with top clients and mentoring co-workers to improve department skills and efficiency.

Highlight Your Relevant Skills

As the hiring manager reads your resume, he is likely wondering what you have to offer when all of your experience is with another job and in another department. You can help him overcome this objective by highlighting your relevant skills right at the top of the page underneath your profile. Create a “Relevant Skills” section that contains four to five bullets explaining what makes you perfect for the new position. These are not necessarily your most important accomplishments. Rather, they are the skills you posses that speak directly to what the new manager is looking for. You can often obtain a good starter list right from the job advertisement. Locate the primary job requirements and then write a one sentence description for each explaining how you fulfill it.

Highlight Your Relevant Skills | Internal Job Promotion

Define Your Accomplishments

One of the hardest parts of writing an effective resume is conveying your accomplishments in a way that doesn’t sound like a weekly status report. When you are writing bullet points, focus on the major accomplishments you have achieved at the company rather than tasks. However, don’t just write each accomplishment in a bullet format. Instead, write it in the past tense using the following format:

What you did, how you did it and what the end benefit was for your department.

For example, the Account Rep would write something like the following for their accomplishments:
• Provided support to account teams and top-tier clients, serving as the primary company liaison to maintain client engagement.

Additionally, don’t forget to include all of the tasks that you performed which were not technically part of your job description. Translate these unofficial duties into strong accomplishments that support your ability to meet and exceed the key measurables of the job that you want to get.

Fill In The Gaps

If you are applying for a management role, as our fictitious Account Rep is, then you must include bullet points that showcase your management skills. This sets you apart from other workers in your department and organization by displaying multi-faceted experience and an ability to take on extra responsibilities. But, what if you don’t have any management experience? This is where many people neglect to emphasize their leadership abilities, even if they didn’t hold a leadership title. For example, if you have been with the company long enough, you have probably mentored new employees. This can be written in the following manner to best showcase your management abilities:

• Mentored new Account Rep staff, bringing them up to speed on software and internal processes, thus decreasing the amount of time required for formal training.
• Successfully completed leadership/professional development programs and mastered skills which increased efficiency in current role.
• Spearheaded a special initiative that remedied an organizational problem and reduced costs.

Don’t forget to include accomplishments that didn’t have concrete, verifiable results. For example, did your manager or another department ask you to contribute your expertise to assist the company in moving forward or in overcoming an internal issue? If so, list the part you played in these discussions and the outcome. By doing this, you are trying to position yourself as a problem solver and a trouble shooter who can transform a potential problem into a constructive solution using out-of-the-box thinking.

 Resume writing tips for internal job post | Vertical Media Solutions

Brag, But Not Too Much

Resumes are not the time to be modest about your accomplishments. They are a time to take credit for personal and company successes. However, it’s important that you remain truthful in what you claim credit for. Don’t get cocky and overestimate your contribution to a project, because the new manger knows what you have done or can easily ask someone down the hall. So, how do you do this? Try writing something like the following.

• Successfully sold $10,000 of add-on products to top-tier corporate client in FY 2013-14.

Putting together everything that we have learned, here’s what the resume looks like so far:

Professional Profile
High-performing Account Representative with exemplary communication instincts and an ability to engage new and existing customers to discover opportunities and generate shared valued. Seven years of successful experience at Acme corporation establishing strong client relationships with top clients and mentoring co-workers to improve department skills and efficiency.
• Provided support to account teams and top-tier clients, serving as the primary company liaison to maintain client engagement.
• Mentored new account rep staff, bringing the up to speed on software and internal processes, thus decreasing the amount of time required for formal training.
• Successfully completed leadership/management professional development programs and mastered skills which increased efficiency in current role.
• Spearheaded a special initiative that remedied an organizational problem and reduced costs.
• Successfully sold $10,000 of add-on products to top-tier corporate client in FY 2013-14.

Jargon is Good

While avoiding highly specialized lingo is usually a good idea when applying to other companies, the opposite is true when applying for an internal position. Think about the many terms and phrases used around the office on a daily or weekly basis. Inserting these words into your resume makes it clear to the hiring manager that you are one of them. For example, your company may refer to customers as clients or accounts. Be sure to use the term that is preferred at your organization to get a leg up on your competition. Other jargon to use includes acronyms, software or system names. Truth be told, some of the phrases may even be outdated or corny, but if they are used within your company make sure to include them. Just be sure not to overdo it. You want to convey that you are part of the team, not a smooth-talking car salesman.

Name Drop

Just like inserting jargon can help you, so can name dropping. We aren’t talking about other employee names, but rather large clients and accounts. Remember, as a Sales Manager your job is to intimately know these clients and their competitors in the industry. If you worked with any of them as an Account Rep make sure to include their names in your bullet points. For example, you might write:

• Served as primary account representative for ACME corporation by assisting in software upgrades which resulted in $10,000 of new equipment purchased.

Name dropping is one of the largest advantages that internal applicants have over external ones. Often, external applicants can’t really list their major client names, because they are considered proprietary to their previous company. Many have also signed non-disclosure agreements that prevent them from revealing this information. However, as an internal candidate, your resume is safe from prying eyes other than workers at your own company. So, feel free to add in anything that may impress your future manager.

Use Management’s Own Words

As an internal employee, one of your best pieces of ammunition is previous performance reviews. These valuable pieces of job performance benchmarks can often provide many of the powerful bullet points that showcase your success at the company. Even better, management teams are often coached or trained on how to write these reviews. Thus, the wording and style is probably already in a format that will both make your resume shine and speak a language that the hiring manger likes.

Applying for an internal promotion can create anxiety in some workers while creating over-confidence in others. The key to success is to treat the process with the utmost of professionalism just as you would any other external job application. By spending the proper time drafting a resume and including your specialized insider knowledge, you can craft a resume that will definitely make you a serious contender. Just remember to treat everyone respectfully even if you don’t get the job. You never know when another one will come up.

How to prepare a resume for an internal job

Whether you live in Michigan or around the country, the employment consultants at Vertical Media Solutions can guide you toward a successful career move. Our certified resume writing and interview preparation services are designed to emphasize your professionalism. Learn how we can help today: 616-631-4300.

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3 Comments
  1. This is awesome

    • Thank you for the comment, Joseph. We appreciate your feedback – feel free to share this post.

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