The Dos and Don’ts of Switching Roles within a Company

The Dos and Don’ts of Switching Roles within a Company

There are plenty of reasons for switching roles within a company. May be the job position you’re in doesn’t suit you because you are not able to leverage your skills and attributions, or maybe you’ve a cultural clash with your current manager and/or team, you want to expand your horizons and looking for new challenges, or you’re just plain bored. There comes a moment in every career when you start to wonder,

“Where do I go next?”

“How to switch jobs?”

It is important to stay open to new opportunities. When you rigidly stick to the narrow view of your ideal career path, you limit yourself from a whole range of possibilities. However, switching jobs within the same company require a thoughtful handing and sensitivity towards your current manager and department. It becomes even more important for you to maintain your professional reputation and integrity as you want to commence your new job on the right note. Here are few dos and don’ts to remember as you embark upon this new journey.


  1. Clarity of Thoughts – Before jumping to a decision of switching job it is vital that you’ve the absolute clarity as to why you want to switch job and making a career change is the right thing to do. It shouldn’t be something that you decide impulsively. Internal transfers require a lot of planning and coordination between department heads and HR. It also takes up a lot of time and resources to set up and administer. Therefore, be mindful of switching roles and be wise before you make a move.
  2. Take on the additional projects related to the role you want – If you’re looking to move into a different department that demands you to have an entirely different skill-set, you must first manifest your value and competence in order to be considered for the transfer. Take on a couple of projects that goes with your desired to showcase what you are capable of. As you take on more projects that are relevant to your dream job it will give you the opportunities of refining your skills and knowledge in that area and you will be able to establish yourself as an expert in that field.
  3. Have regular check-ins with your Manager – If you want to switch roles then you’ve to make it known considerately and gradually. The best way is to have regular career conversations with your managers. Let them know which types of skills and experiences you want to develop. Having your boss’ or manager’s endorsement will make a world of difference. It is vital that you’ve regular career check-ins to get onto the same page as your boss on what you want for your career. This way, if any internal transfer opportunity arises you can bring it up with your manager and they might end up vouching for you.
  4. Take help of someone who knows your work – If you’ve an ally who is familiar with your work and with whom you share a strong working relationship, ask them to vouch for you. They should be able to talk about the quality of your work, your role as a teammate, and how you’ve excelled at your job. Of course, you need to put in the work to earn their respect, and make it worth their while to be your career advocate in the first place.
  5. Make a smooth transition – If you’ve been green lighted for your transfer, make sure you do whatever it takes to ease the transition from your old department to your new one. If the boss has found your replacement to take over your responsibilities, make the effort to pass the baton responsibly. You should also help your replacement by organizing your files, making personal introductions and taking out time to brief them on what they need to know.


  1. Don’t be discouraged – If your boss is against the idea of your internal transfer in the beginning, do not be disheartened. They may come around in time sooner or later. However, you must do your best to convince them that it’s the right move for the company as well as for your own professional development. Also try to look at it from your boss’ or company’s perspective. Leave no stone unturned to prove your worth and suitability for the new role. Have career check-ins with your boss to explain to them why you feel it’s the best move for all concerned. And give them some time to process this idea.
  2. Do not apply for the transfer without proper knowledge about the role and department – Just like you research while applying for a job, it is also important that you do a proper and meticulous research and investigation before applying for internal transfer. It would be foolish if you waste your company’s time and resources and then realize after the transfer that you’ve committed a blunder. Take ample time to find out about your new role and department and weigh all the pros and cons before making your decision to go through with it.
  3. Manage old and new relationships – Internal transfers give you the opportunity to expand your network and influence within the company. However, that doesn’t mean that you forget your old friends at the expense of your new relationships. It’s important to strike a balance. Embrace your new environment by forming working relationships with your new colleagues but keep in touch with your old friends too.
  4. Do not leave your current boss and department high and dry – After your internal transfer is approved, do not suddenly abandon your current boss and department. That would make you look inconsiderate and insensitive. Make sure to give a proper closure to all your current and ongoing projects and do a proper handover to the person who is going to replace you. Let them know that you will be more than happy to be of any assistance or help train the new recruit during the transition phase. The idea is not leave your old boss and department in the lurch.