Young male professional wearing glasses sitting at a white desk holding his phone up searching how to request a job transfer

Is it time for a career change? you aren’t alone if so! Nearly all of us have been there…at least once. But finding a new job doesn’t necessarily mean you have to switch employers.

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 into 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. 

In this article, I’ll list reasons why changing jobs within your company might be the right choice and share some tips for successfully requesting an internal transfer. 

Reasons for transferring jobs within your company

Desire for something new

Exploring new interests is a common aspect of professional life. If you have determined that you want to pursue a new area of focus for your career, an internal transfer can offer you the opportunity to do so at a company where you are already familiar with the systems and culture.

Greater opportunity for advancement

Some occupations offer limited opportunities for advancement. Those career 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 a chance to grow in your career, moving to a different department might be the perfect solution.

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 and the company you work for is large enough, you may even be able to keep the same job function. 

Eliminate 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. Doing so will increase your marketability for new career opportunities in the future, both within your existing company and elsewhere. 

Need help updating your resume? Utilize our bank of sample resumes or a professional resume service like BeamJobs to ensure you impress the hiring manager!

Advance your career

A transfer within your company could advance your career, like giving you the opportunity to move into a leadership role or head up a new project. It also gives you the chance to make new professional connections and form relationships with leaders in new areas of the business, which could benefit you for years to come. 

Avoid the job search process

Switching positions at your existing company allows you to enjoy the fresh inspiration that comes with starting a new role, 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

A major downside to switching companies is having to press the reset button on all your benefits. You lose accrued vacation time, have to pick a new healthcare plan (and alert all your providers), 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 peers and teammates. 

Tips for requesting a job transfer within the same company

1. Zero in on a position

It’s best to have a specific position in mind when requesting an internal transfer. Knowing which role you want to move into will allow your request to get off to the right start. Having a plan is much better than going to your boss to say, “I want to move somewhere else,” with no real idea where. As the saying goes, running to something you want is better than running away from something you don’t!

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. 

Don’t know how to approach asking your boss for a recommendation letter? Check out these tips for writing a recommendation request letter.

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! Find out if anyone in your network could make an introduction so you can start building rapport before they’re asked to consider you for the job. 

Need help making lasting networking connections? Check out this guide on 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 and, if appropriate, your personal 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.


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 transfer.

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Pete Newsome is the founder of zengig, which he created after more than two decades in staffing and recruiting. He’s also President of 4 Corner Resources, the Forbes America's Best Staffing and Recruiting Firm he founded in 2005, and is a member of the American Staffing Association and TechServe Alliance. In addition to his passion for staffing, Pete is now committed to zengig becoming the most comprehensive source of expert advice, tools, and resources for career growth and happiness. When he’s not in the office or spending time with his family of six, you can find Pete sharing his career knowledge and expertise through public speaking, writing, and as the host of the Finding Career Zen & Hire Calling podcasts. Connect with Pete on LinkedIn