Applying to Jobs Internally

Preparing your resume and cover letter for the next step in your career

A great position has just become available with your current company – are your resume and cover letter ready? If you work for a smaller organization and are a perfect fit for the role, the application process could be pretty straightforward and the next logical step in your career. If you work for a larger organization or are targeting a new department, you may be up against multiple contenders or not have personal relationships with the managers or team you are trying to join. Either way, it is critical to prepare your job search documents just as if you were applying to an external position and put your best foot forward.


Adjust your summary and key skills sections to match the position you are applying to (just as you would for an external position). Update your resume with your current role, ensure all past roles are presented in past tense, and remove details for positions from 10 or more years ago if space becomes tight. Include detailed information regarding job duties and responsibilities. Even though you are applying internally and your interviewers may be familiar with your position, be careful not to sell yourself short and leave off important data. Be very specific when touting your achievements – and as always – make sure the information you include is 100% accurate. Your reader will know immediately if the truth has been stretched, or have the ability to easily check your facts with someone else who works with you.

Cover Letter

Customizing your cover letter is essential when applying to an internal position. Your cover letter must speak directly to your audience. A generic message will not work. Be very specific about why you wish to make this career move, what you plan to bring to the team, current initiatives you are excited to participate in, and what you have accomplished thus far for the company. Because you are applying internally, you already know about your company’s mission, culture, and goals and you should tie these in to your letter. If another team member recommended that you apply for the role, mention them. Networking and “who you know” is just as important for an internal job search, especially if you work for a larger organization.


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