Ask MCG : How do I move departments to fast track my goals?

A Career Girl asks us about how to make a switch within her company from her department to another. Read on as our Communication Columnist, Amanda Kocefas, gives some great advice!

I am currently working for a large retail company at their corporate headquarters.  I am on a good team, but I do not see any growth potential in the role.  I would like to try and find a position on another team, even if it just a lateral move.  
  1. How do I market myself in the best way to other teams so that they can see the work I have done?
  2. What is the best way to contact another manager about possible openings on their team?
  3. How do I make the best of my current role if I am unable to find another position at this time?  What can I do to get more responsibility and help demonstrate skills?

Sincerely, A


Dear A,

I feel your pain! I know what it’s like to want to move into a role where you can hit the fast track to your next goal or achievement, whether that’s a promotion or a lateral move to set you up for a promotion. There are a few ways you can better position yourself to be considered for an internal vacancy as soon as it opens up:

It’s about who you know
Everyone says this when you’re looking for a job, but it’s also really true – especially internally. If you walk by the Director of the practice you want to join every day, but have never spoken, start now. It will make it less awkward for you to show him or her your work later on down the road or to have a more candid conversation with them about joining their team. While this approach is more of a slow-burner, it is worth it in the end because you will be comfortable going to the decision maker already and they will know what type of work you have done in the past. You can also use this person as a third party sounding board when you are stuck on a project or can’t figure out which direction to go with something creative.

Contacting the manager
When you are ready to speak to a manager about the move, set up a time to talk privately. The manager on the new team may want to consider your interest before discussing the details, but they may also want to gather examples of your work and send you through the process right away. During the discussions about the potential move to another team, you should also discuss how to communicate to your existing manager that you are interested in another position. You may find that he or she is willing to help you take on the new spot, or vice versa, so feel the situation out and respond the way you feel is best. Never make your boss feel like you undermined him or her, so if the new position requires that you go above their head, it may be best to discuss it with your current manager before you begin the conversation about moving departments.

Making the best of your current role
It is really important that you keep up with your current responsibilities and don’t let anything slip while you are looking at other opportunities. When you have your priority tasks completed, have a chat with your manager about other projects you can help on. Look at the job description of the job you would like and offer to help with projects that correspond with the responsibilities there. Furthermore, if you have the opportunity (or an idea) to work cross-functionally with the team you want to be on, that is a great way to get yourself positioned to be on that team later on in the game.

The most important thing to remember is that this is your career and you need to get what you want out of it. If you can’t develop your skills within your organization, look to groups like Meetup that can help you meet others with the skill sets you want to improve. Join groups on LinkedIn and chime in on discussions to learn from the experts. Do what you need to do in order to achieve your career goals.

Career girls: what other words of wisdom do you have to share about moving roles within an organization? What methods have worked for you (or not worked!) in the past? Let us know in the comments!



Amanda Kocefas

Amanda is a marketing professional with experience covering global communication, corporate branding, trade show events, advertising, web content management, and business development support. She has a Bachelor's degree in Advertising from Michigan State University and has internship experience in graphic design and non-profit event planning. She has also raised awareness and funds for several non-profit organizations including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Relay For Life, One World One Future, Ronald McDonald House, March of Dimes, Wright for Kids, Kalamazoo Community Advocates, and Kalamazoo Community in Schools. Through this column, she aims to help career girls everywhere master the tricky rules of communication in today's workplace.