You got your foot in the door at your current employer and your goal is to advance your nursing career and climb the ladder to more responsibility, challenging work and a higher salary. There may be a nurse manager position opening in your facility or perhaps you wish to take your nursing background in a new, non-clinical direction and apply for a patient advocate or nurse educator position. Many employers are eager to promote from within, but what does it take to stand out among competition from both internal and external applicants? Here are a few tips to help you land your next position within your current company.


The first step in applying for any job, whether it’s at your current employer or at an outside company, is to fill out an application and/or submit your resume for consideration. Treat your application packet just as thoughtfully as you would if you were an outside applicant. Just because you are a current employee doesn’t mean that you’re a sure pick for the new position. Ask a trusted mentor or friend to review your application to make sure you’re presenting yourself in the best light.

Put it in Writing

Writing a cover letter as part of your internal job application is a great way to stand out – especially if it’s not a requirement of the application. Some companies only require an online application, but you will make a statement by taking the time to craft a cover letter that details your experience and why you are the best candidate for the job. Attach your letter and resume to your application, if possible, or email it to the appropriate hiring manager.

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Dress for Success

If you land an interview, again, it’s vital that you treat the process just as you would if you were applying for an outside position. Internal candidates can sometimes feel more confident and comfortable than outside applicants because they may already know the hiring committee and they already feel comfortable in the environment. But you are still competing for the job with many other candidates, so don’t get too comfortable. Dress for success and present yourself as professionally as possible by wearing a business suit – this is no time to wear your nursing scrubs.

Follow Up

After your interview, be sure to follow up with the hiring manager or committee with a written thank you letter to reiterate your interest in the position and your commitment to the company. You’d be surprised how many candidates do not follow up after an interview, so if you do, you’ll stand out. Send a handwritten note on a professional note card for a personal touch.

Tell Your Boss

Should you tell your boss that you are applying for internal positions? This can be a tricky area since you’re not certain that you will land the new job and you don’t want to give your current manager the impression that you’re unhappy (even if you are). According to Allison Doyle, job search expert, it’s best to present your desire for the new position in a positive light. She writes: “The best rationale focuses on the positive aspects of the new job without expressing dissatisfaction about the job you have now. In fact, it is usually safest to emphasize that you are enjoying your current job, so your boss doesn’t think you can’t wait to move on.”

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Ensure your boss that you would like to advance your career and this opportunity is too good to pass up. Try to be selective about which internal positions you apply for so that it doesn’t look like you’ll take any open position.

Landing a new position within your current company can be a great way to grow your career. Keep your eye out for a more challenging position and follow these tips for landing the job.

Denene Brox is a Kansas City-based freelance writer. 

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