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Internal Promotion: Be Prepared When It Comes

Benefits of Internal Promotions

An internal promotion is part of a recruitment process where an organisation looks within its existing staff to fill a particular position, before externally announcing this position.

Internal promotions can have a positive impact on your career, especially if the process places you in the path of your dream career. For instance, if an opportunity opens up in the department you have always wanted to be a part of, or you get the chance to move higher in rank in your current department. An internal promotion gives you the chance to get the job easily as you already know the company’s operations.

The truth is, internal promotions present great opportunities for you to grow and become a leader in your industry. With internal promotions, you can move from the lowest level (entry level) to the highest point in your career (senior management), especially in companies that prioritise internal recruitment over bringing in outsiders. In an ideal world, you would get the promotion with no hassle as the hiring manager already knows about your capabilities. But in a bid to uphold fairness, internal candidates are routinely asked to apply for available promotions.

Why An Internal Promotion Is Good For You

  • You already know the company’s operations so you will easily settle down in your new role.
  • You are aware of each team member’s strengths and weaknesses and you will comfortably harness the available expertise to successfully complete tasks and move the organisation forward.
  • Internal promotions also give you an opportunity to implement new ideas that you have developed over the course of your career in that organisation.
  • The opportunity to take on a new role gives you the drive you need to keep performing well as you are constantly confronted by new challenges. Having been an employee of the company, you have learnt the company’s processes and this means that you know areas that need improvement for purposes of growth. You also know the industry’s trends and this will challenge you to use your new position to steer the company’s growth.
  • If you have been losing momentum due to lack of challenges, this is your chance to get re-energized.
  • Internal promotions are a great opportunity to unlock your potential as you get the chance to fully utilise any skills and knowledge you have acquired over time. This is also a chance to get noticed in the industry and become a leader in your field.
  • That pay rise you have be thinking about, well, this might just be your chance. In some companies, promotions also come with additional packages and allowances. Some companies give a window for negotiation and you might, thus, get a good package if you do your research well.
  • You have a shorter job application and interview process. The process of applying for a job, waiting for a response and performing in an interview can be stressful. The internal promotion opportunity reduces this because the application process is simpler and if a response is not forthcoming, you can easily talk to the hiring manager about your application’s status. The interview stage is also less stressful as it mainly involves an assessment of your performance and your immediate manager and the hiring manager already have your history at the company.
  • If you have been facing frustrations from your colleagues or your manager, this is your chance to move into new territory and find joy in your work.

Do not slash your ambition because finding a new job is challenging. Take advantage of internal promotion opportunities to move your career to the next level. Below are tips on how to stay prepared for the opportunity and how to face the interview when the time comes.

  • Build valuable internal relationships: You might be good at what you do but as long as you light your candle and cover it, that promotion may become elusive. It is, therefore, important to share your skills and knowledge with your colleagues. This helps you get known and your colleagues might come in handy by ‘advertising’ your skills when a promotion opportunity arises. Strong networks also enable you to acquire new skills from your colleagues, which improves your performance and your chances of being considered for a promotion.
  • Make an effort of being a team player: Tasks are accomplished through team efforts. You increase your chances of getting a promotion if you have good teamwork skills. This calls for you to help colleagues whenever possible and do your duties well so that the team does not lag behind. As a matter of fact, a promotion might involve team leadership and coordination of a team may be challenging if you do not know how to play by the rules. This will make it hard to get the promotion. You also become valuable to the organisation if you can handle a team effectively.
  • Be a proactive problem solver: Companies and teams face challenges all the time. Your role is not to just do what is expected of you. It would be nice to be the person who looks for solutions rather than be the person who complains. Being an active problem solver presents you as a leader and an asset to the company. If an internal promotion is available, you are more likely to get the job if you constantly come up with valuable solutions to problems.
  • Be good at what you do: Of course, a promotion is usually offered to the person who gets the job done. Always look for ways of improving your performance by being a constant learner. As your output improves, so does your contribution to the overall growth of the company and this makes you an asset.
  • Don’t shy away from new responsibilities: New tasks and projects improve your skills. You also appear as being interested in your work and this increases your value to the organisation.
  • Discuss with your manager: Once an internal promotion is advertised, let your immediate manager know that you are interested. The manager will be able to advise you accordingly and might even help you get the promotion.
  • Know your achievements: Prepare for the actual interview by having a list of your achievements and contributions to your department and the company. You should also know what skills you have for the job as this will also be an area of focus during the interview. During the interview, have your performance appraisal and discuss your suitability by demonstrating your capabilities. The focus will be your performance, which will be used as an indicator of your suitability for the job so know your contribution to the company.

Important Details To Consider:

Internal promotion

Once the position is advertised, you need to make a formal application. Here are pointers on what you should mention in your cover letter:

  • Mention your current department: It is important to state where you are currently working and the position you hold. The cover letter must also mention how long you have been in that department and any other positions you have held in that company. This gives the recruitment manager a good history of your progress within the company and boosts your chances for being considered for the promotion.
  • Say why you want the promotion: Your cover letter should indicate why you are interested in the position. This gives you a chance to state why you think you are qualified for the position by mentioning specific skills and experience that may be necessary for the position. Just like in a typical cover letter, this is your chance to make a case for yourself by linking your skills and competencies to the job’s requirements. These will demonstrate that you are capable of handling the job if given the opportunity.
  • List your skills and competencies: In case you have gone through formal or company training, mention this as part of your suitability for the job. A company usually invests in its employees through training for personal development. You should, therefore, mention any training you may have undergone, showing how your skills have improved, making you suitable for the opportunity. You must also mention any education or formal training that makes you suitable for the position.
  • Give a list of your accomplishments: It is very important to mention your achievements during the period you have been in the company. This also highlights your productivity and how you have contributed to the company’s growth. Recruitment managers are usually looking for people who will be assets to the company and showing your productivity indicates why you are important to the company. Internal recruitments are heavily pegged on your performance and this is your opportunity to amplify your suitability through past accomplishments.
  • Attach evidence of your performance: Some companies have periodical performance appraisals for each employee. Whenever possible, give a brief overview of your latest performance appraisal and remember to attach a copy as documented evidence. This strengthens your chances of being considered for the promotion.

Sample Cover Letter For An Internal Promotion

Dear Mr/ M/s (Name),

The announcement of a vacancy for the position of an Assistant Project Manager is of great interest to me, owing to my passion for this department coupled with my qualifications and experience. I am also looking for new challenges and I believe that this position will give me a chance to utilise my skills fully, to the benefit of the organisation and myself.

I have extensive experience in the company, its products and most importantly, its clients, having joined as an intern in March 2014 and risen through the ranks to my current position as a Project Officer. I have gained extensive skills in project planning and management over the past 2 years, having been involved in 10 different projects so far.

I have demonstrated an ability to plan, implement and organise the successful execution of projects through diligent planning, monitoring and evaluation with at least a 70% success rate. I also have skills in managing dynamic teams for the implementation projects having worked with teams of between 5 to 10 people in past projects. I have also gained skills in handling a project’s budget through a careful analysis of requirements and allocating a budget based on expected outcomes. My tenure has also given me an opportunity to demonstrate an ability to coordinate projects that involve different departments in the organisation, seeing as most projects involve at least 2 departments.

I have also been through 2 crucial training sessions, organised by the company namely; Principles of project implementation and Managing a project that involves more than 2 stakeholders. I am currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Project Planning and Management to further improve my skills which I believe will come in handy when working as an Assistant Project Manager.

I have attached a copy of my latest performance appraisal to further demonstrate my ability to take on the new challenge. I Look forward to an opportunity to further discuss my suitability for the position.

Best Regards,

Your full name.

Once the opportunity finally comes, it is now your chance to tackle the interview skillfully so that you can actually be given the opportunity. Here is how to handle the interview:

  • Dress the part: As much as this is an internal recruitment, experts advise you to handle it like any other interview. On the material day, dress accordingly as this demonstrates that you are taking the process seriously.
  • Discuss your ability to handle the job: Just like any other job interview, make a case for yourself by discussing your strengths, experience and skills and how these will enable you to handle the job. By all means, give past examples of how you have skillfully handled assignments and how this helped in the achievement of goals.
  • Do not run away from your weaknesses: Everyone makes mistakes once in a while. These may be as a result of your weaknesses or situations that resulted in negative outcomes. However, do not place the blame on others and do not look for a scapegoat. Instead, face the concerns and demonstrate that you can overcome the challenges to deliver the expected outcomes.
  • Treat the interview like a discussion: Interviews make people nervous but remember, you are going in for an interview with people who already have a history of you in the company. As such, it is advisable to handle the interview like a discussion about your past accomplishments and how you can utilise your skills and experience to handle the job if given the opportunity.
  • Ask about feedback: Once interviews are conducted, the hiring manager will require some time to analyse all the candidates. It is important to subtly find out how long it might take to get feedback. This reduces anxiety and helps you to work with timelines. For example, you may ask “How soon may I expect to get feedback on my suitability for the position?” This also shows interest in taking up the opportunity.

What to do after the interview

Once the interview is done, there will be a period of waiting so here is what you can do as you wait for feedback:

  • Go back to your job comfortably:  Chances are that you will get the opportunity or miss it, depending on your suitability for the position. So, as you wait, please keep doing your job and doing it well.
  • Ask the hiring manager about the feedback: One advantage of being in the same organisation with the hiring manager is that you have quick access. As such, you have an opportunity to ask for feedback if time has lapsed. You may, for example, write a brief email seeking feedback if the time line given has elapsed with no communication about your interview. Make it brief and formal. This communicates interest.
  • In case you do not get the chance: Sometimes, you may miss out on the promotion. This is a good opportunity for you to find out how you can improve so that you may get the chance once the opportunity arises again. As such, if the reasons for missing out are not given or are not satisfactory, you can seek clarification. This helps you to improve and be better prepared for another chance.



Njeri Karanja
Njeri is a reading and creative writing enthusiast who is neck-deep in research writing. She is well versed in researching and writing on various topics.
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