How to Ask Your Boss for a Different Job

Talk to your current boss before applying for a new role.
i Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Asking your boss to get behind a transfer is never easy. You want to make the most of every opportunity, but, at the same time, avoid hurting someone’s feelings — namely the boss that’s been in your corner from the very beginning. Rest assured, most managers understand that such requests have everything to do with career goals and not dissatisfaction with your current role. Just be up front from the get-go, and do your due diligence before making the leap.

    Step 1

    Research the people, department and position you hope to transfer to. This not only provides you a better understanding of this division’s goals and work environment, but can also shed light onto why the role is vacant and how your skills best fill their current needs. You may find it’s not a good fit, saving you the trouble of pursuing a job that could sidetrack your career goals in the long run.

    Step 2

    Write out how and why you’re the best person for the vacant job, and tie each statement back to a goal or duty within the department and company — all that research should come in handy about now. Writing everything out prepares you for your inevitable talk with your boss, as well as the interview process with the hiring manager for the other job.

    Step 3

    Talk to your current boss before you ever apply for the internal position. Be frank and upfront about your decision to transfer to a different team. Keeping hush could complicate matters in the end and, worse yet, squander an advocate that can help you land the new role.

    Step 4

    Dress for the job you want, not the job you have — a clichéd statement, but one that holds true when applying for an internal position. Dressing casually could give the impression that you’re not as serious as the other candidates. Put your best foot forward throughout the process, even when it comes to your attire.


    • Edit your resume and cover letter prior to applying for the job posting. Even with an internal position, you’ll likely need to provide the hiring manager with your work history. The one HR has on file won’t detail your current role, so set aside some time to prepare a new document.

the nest