Deciding whether to share an internal job search plan with your boss depends on the relationship you have with her. She might be supportive and put in a good word for you, or she could be resentful that she might lose a good employee and try to keep you from moving on. However you handle it, maintain decorum and a professional attitude at all times.
Talk to your boss in private and say you want her input on your career planning. Emphasize that while you appreciated the opportunity to work with her, you're interested in expanding your horizons and exploring new opportunities. Ask if she thinks you're a good candidate for the internal job. Using this approach, your boss won't feel threatened or abandoned, but rather, that she's being asked for advice as a mentor.
If you’re looking outside your department because you and your boss don't get along, you should probably keep your internal job search to yourself until you’re offered the job. If you don't get the position, you’ll still have to work with your current boss, but she'll know you tried to leave. This can create an uncomfortable work environment.
Even if you keep your internal job search quiet, there’s a chance your boss will find out you're looking for other opportunities. You can ask the hiring manager to keep your interest confidential, but If word gets out and your manager confronts you, admit your interest. Say you aren’t trying to hide anything, but rather, exploring the opportunity to see if the job is a good fit.
Managing Your Boss
Whether or not you decide to tell your boss about your plans, be professional in your approach. Don't tell her you’re looking elsewhere because you can't stand working with her, even if that is the case, and always express your thanks for the opportunities you've had in your current position. Whether your current relationship with your boss is good or bad, stress the fact that your interest in another role is purely professional and based on your career development plan plans, and is in no way personal.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.