Why networking in your own company is the best way to find a job

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Jun 13

You’re looking at the writing on the wall: your job is about to end. Mostly because the job is no longer sustainable for you. And you know that sooner or later, your job performance will reflect that the job is no longer interesting to you…

Whether it is boredom, politics, an impending layoff, or just a bad boss, you know it is time to leave. What’s the first thing most people do? (Outside of all the first steps you should do…).

You start looking for a job somewhere else. Outside your company. New place, fresh start, putting this place in the past.

If you’re in a medium to large company though, I’d look someplace else first: something in your own company, outside your department.

There are a lot of advantages to staying with your current company:

  • You keep your seniority. Mostly important for vacation time…you don’t have to start vacation counts over someplace else. I worked for a long time at AT&T and when I left, I had six weeks vacation and the company holidays. I’ve never had more then three weeks a year since and I really, seriously, miss the extra vacation time.
  • You keep the devil you know versus learning the one you don’t. There is a big advantage in knowing the culture, the norms, and the politics in your current company. It helps you navigate, perform well and know what is going on.
  • You keep your (large, usually) business network in place. Once you leave your current employer, it’s easy to let all those contacts slip away.

Sure, there are advantages. But why is your own company the better place to find a job?

The easiest way to do informational interviews is in your own company

We’re told we should do informational interviews with people in other companies. It helps understand the company and what different jobs are like. If you know someone, great, but if you don’t, getting an informational interview is tough.

In your own company, though, you can email or call up any manager in the company and tell them you’d like to learn more about what that department does — especially if that department is dependent on yours for some of their work — and you’re likely to be greeted with open arms. After all, you’re learning more about your own company!

Movement inside your own company is easier then a 100% break with your company

Many companies will try and retain good employees. If you do a good job, being able to move between departments is a viable way to find a different job.

Leaving the company is a harsher break. Think about people who have left your company versus those that moved to a different department within the company. There is a certain finality of leaving the company. Your contacts tend to drop away. Even if you were close at work, when that person leaves it is difficult to maintain the close work relationship you had with that person. If you never really had a social relationship with that person, it’s tough to create one.

All of these factors mean it is easier to maintain your business network relationships when you stay with your company.

Your work reputation is best (or worst!) inside your company

If you have a great work reputation inside your company, that reputation will open doors in other departments. Managers want people that will help them meet their business goals and if your reputation is about doing just that, managers will be open to bringing you on to their work group.

I had a conversation with a manager who I had worked with in a different position before…he was describing a new position that was opening up and he was having difficulty figuring out who should fill the role. After he described the position to me, I said, “How about me?”. He didn’t know I was looking for a job, but I gave him my reasons and two months later, I was working in a new position in a new department.

Outside your company, no one knows your work reputation, unless there are people in your community who have worked with you before. But inside your company, your reputation is known. You can use that to your advantage.

There are caveats…

Let’s be clear…there are reasons to leave your company: it was bought out and your job is in jeopardy, your manager is awful and will submarine anything you do to try and move, your position is likely to be outsourced, and on and on.

But if you’re in a relatively stable company and you feel the need to move on to something different, give your company a go. It may take the same time to find a different position as it would looking elsewhere. There will be bumps along the way, just like looking outside the company.

But if you’re successful at a move inside your company, there are a lot of advantages that stay with you.

Have you ever moved inside your company? How did it go?