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SkillsTalk

Want to move to a different team? Here's how to start a conversation with your boss

By Emilly Parris | 30 April 2020


When it comes to getting ahead in your career, most of us may first think about changing jobs or gearing ourselves up for a promotion before we consider moving to a different team in the same company.

But the truth is, changing teams is a highly effective strategy that can help you advance not only in the organisation you work for, but in your career.

Moving teams gives you a chance to expose yourself to different areas of the business and provide you with insight into the broader industry, so you can work your way towards becoming a true industry leader. But how do you approach changing teams and what is the best way to get your boss on-side?

Today, SkillsTalk uncovers the best ways to make the transition to a new team and how to start this conversation with your manager.

1. Give your boss the heads up.

The most important thing you can do for your career is to be honest with yourself and those around you. That being said, you’ll want to avoid spreading the word around the office until you have spoken to your boss first.

If you believe you will be a great asset to the company in another team, it is perfectly okay to be direct about it. Although this is a potentially difficult conversation to have with your boss, at the end of the day their job is to support you as an employee and help you progress in the company.

A good manager will always understand where you are coming from and will do all they can to make sure they keep their best employees. After all, changing teams is not all that uncommon!

Here are a few things you can do to make the conversation a little easier:
  • Make a list of all the qualities and attributes you have that will translate into your new role
  • Ask them for honest guidance on where you could improve and what additional skills you may have to learn
  • Express your desire to continue working at the company and how your existing knowledge will benefit the new team and the company as a whole
  • Discuss talking to your colleagues and shadowing them if possible
Most importantly, you want to show your boss how significant this change will be for you and where it fits in with your broader career plan. This will give you plenty to talk about and if you approach it with confidence, there’s no reason they would not be willing to help you.

After you’ve had the conversation with your boss, you can also seek the support of others in your workplace—let them know about your plans and ask them for advice on how to make the transition smoother.

2. Keep an eye out for openings.

woman having a chat on the phone while on laptop

Though it may seem obvious to keep your eyes peeled for job openings in the team, if you’ve been considering moving for a while, it’s easy to keep the idea filed under “future goals” rather than seeing it as a real opportunity.

Regularly monitoring job openings also allows you to explore the role and prepare yourself. You will also have the advantage of being among the first to know about who is hiring.

If possible, look over the job description to see what the specific job requirements are so you can make adjustments to your resume and prepare for the interview.

3. Connect with your new team.

Building relationships and growing your network are important when you’re making any career move, and in this case it will benefit you and the team equally to introduce yourself and connect in a meaningful way. Whether that means catching up for lunch or setting up an informal meeting, it pays to get to know the people you could one day be working alongside!

4. Be patient and stay positive.

thumbs up

In most cases, an internal transfer is not something that will happen overnight. There are many factors for your manager and HR to consider, including who will replace you when you’ve moved on. Try to stay positive, be present in your current role and raise any concerns only if you feel that progress is not being made within a reasonable timeframe. Often, roadblocks like company policy and slow internal processes can cause these types of transitions to take longer.

5. Make sure you’re qualified.

Be sure to understand what your new role will entail, how it will be different and what new skills you may have to learn. Though you may have a number of years’ experience under your belt, your skills and expertise may not translate to your new role. This will make it challenging for you to compete with other candidates who may be more technically qualified.

Not every role will require you to get back into study, but any amount of training no matter how small, will be beneficial in helping you find your feet. Upskilled offers a number of courses in some of Australia's top industries that may help you fill any gaps, and many of these can be completed any time that fits your schedule.

Obtaining the right qualification will not only give you a leg up in terms of getting the job, it will also make the whole process of transitioning much less daunting.
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