How to Deal With the Boss About an Internal Transfer for a Career

Bring the necessary paperwork to the meeting with your boss.

Bring the necessary paperwork to the meeting with your boss.

Perhaps your internal transfer is a lateral move, or maybe you're moving up the ranks -- either way, you've got to tell your boss the news. Be direct and stand firm. Be ready to explain how your transfer relates to your short or long term career goals to show you've thought the decision through. Depending on the communication chain in your organization, your boss might already know, and is waiting to see how you handle yourself.

Request a one-on-one meeting with your boss to discuss the internal transfer. Technology provides many tempting ways to avoid confrontation, but firing off an email or text sends the message that he's not the worth the face time. Bring written proof of your transfer to the meeting, as well as any other documentation your boss needs to read or sign.

Get straight to the point in the meeting -- your boss will appreciate your respect of his time. Tell him where you’re going and why. Maybe you’re making a lateral move that is more aligned with your intended career trajectory, or perhaps you’re going to help another department that is understaffed. Whatever your reason, say it quickly (but clearly) and don’t ramble. And be sure to make eye contact.

Discuss why you're the best transfer candidate, especially if you need your boss’s permission or recommendation to get the ball rolling. Have an updated resume and list of professional references on hand, and be prepared to explain why you’re awesome enough to make the move.

Express gratitude for what you’ve learned while working under your boss. If you’ll still be working for the same person after the transfer, express gratitude for what you’ve learned in your (soon-to-be) old job. Even if you’ve been dancing the two-step since you found out about the transfer, express a tiny bit of remorse about leaving so it doesn’t look like you’re jumping ship.

Offer to help find and train your replacement. Create a document that explains what you do and how you do it, as a helpful guide for the person who’ll fill your spot. Organize your files and come to a clear stopping point on all your projects. Update your boss on your progress.

Ask your boss if he wouldn’t mind becoming a part of your professional network and get his contact information. Since your boss is familiar with your professional and educational background, as well as your working style, he could be a valuable contact in your industry. He might also be willing to write you a recommendation letter for future positions.

 

About the Author

Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.

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