An internal promotion is a great way to advance your career and build capital with a company. As an insider, you’ll often have a leg up on outside candidates thanks to your existing knowledge and the reputation you’ve built.
Despite being at an advantage, however, you can’t assume that a promotion is a given. When a position that you’re interested in becomes available within your company, you’ll need to apply for it just like you would for any other role. To do that–and to get the additional responsibility and pay that come with a higher title–you need an internal promotion resume.
What to focus on
Define career goals
Are you looking to take on greater responsibilities? Manage the team you’re currently part of? Move into a different department? Identify your reasons for seeking an internal promotion and spell them out for the reader of your resume. This will help the hiring manager better understand your intended path within the organization, which can be a selling point for you as a candidate.
Emphasize relevant experience
Your first-hand insight is your key advantage as an internal candidate. You understand the company culture and are already light years ahead of outside applicants with your knowledge of existing processes and systems. You’ll want to play up this existing knowledge in your resume. It’s even better if you can talk directly with the team or hiring manager before putting together your resume to gather some intel on exactly what they’re looking for in the right candidate.
Why do you need a resume?
Position yourself as the strongest candidate
You may be an insider, but you’re still competing against other candidates, maybe even some of your peers who also want the job. And, it’s not unheard of for a company to leave a position open if a suitable candidate isn’t available. So, you need to sell your strengths. Your resume should convince the hiring manager you’re ready and able to tackle a new challenge and have the right skills to do the job successfully.
Explain how you’ll contribute to organizational goals
Depending on the role you’re applying for, the hiring manager may already be well-versed when it comes to your existing job duties and performance. If this is the case, you might not need to dedicate as much space to talking about your accomplishments as you would for an unfamiliar reader.
Instead, use your resume to describe how you’ll contribute to organizational goals moving forward, like setting stretch goals, defining growth objectives and pursuing continued learning to advance your skills.
When should you use a resume?
Use a resume to:
- Apply for a promotion within your existing company
- Transfer to another department
- Move into a leadership role
Common challenges and how to overcome them
Lacking leadership experience
If it’s your first time applying for a role where you’d be managing people, it can be tricky to find examples of your leadership capabilities. But you don’t necessarily have to have experience giving other people directions; you just need to be able to demonstrate that you can take charge of a project and see it through to the end.
Think of times when you took the lead on a new initiative or when your manager trusted you to make decisions independently. You can even cite positive feedback directly from your manager on your resume.
Competing against external applicants
Sometimes you’ll be up against outside applicants who have more relevant experience or more specialized expertise than you. How can you compete? Use your position as an internal candidate to your advantage.
It’s important to hiring managers that a candidate can get up to speed in a new role quickly, and you have this going for you because there will be less of a learning curve. Use company language and speak directly to the organization’s goals wherever possible. For example, if you know there’s been a big push for new user acquisition lately, you might talk about your contributions to an important marketing campaign or your customer service skills interacting with new prospects.
Internal promotion resume format and key components
A chronological resume format is a good choice to use when seeking an internal promotion.
Your resume should include the following sections:
- Contact information
Top your resume with the compulsory contact details: your name, address, phone number and your company email address.
- Objective statement
Your objective statement should be closely tailored to the company and the position you want. This should be easy given your knowledge of the company’s operations and your own professional ambitions. Here’s an example of an objective statement for an internal promotion resume:
Organized, dependable administrator with six years of experience at Skyline Windows and Glass. Looking to leverage deep company knowledge and industry relationships in a leadership role managing office operations.
The bulk of your internal promotion resume should be focused on your experience and accomplishments at your existing company. As an internal candidate, you can cite specific clients and speak in company lingo, both of which heighten the sense that you’re a strong fit for the job. You can also include direct quotes from your performance review praising your achievements.
Include your degree, area of study and the name of the institution.
Ensure that the skills you list on your resume are relevant to the new position, not just what you do in your current job. Check the job description to be sure you’re hitting on the main qualifications and keywords.
Let the reader of your resume know why you’re the right fit for the role. Be clear, and use specific examples as you make your case for being the right choice. Since this version of your resume if for an internal promotion, feel free to include company-specific acronyms and phrases, as doing so will highlight the shortened learning curve that comes with your candidacy.