How to Request a Job Transfer

Requesting a job transfer may be the result of many possible employment and personal situations. This is the sort of thing you need to plan in advance. Your request has to be given the maximum possible chance of success, and that means doing things properly, through channels.

Job Transfer Basics

Please note that a job transfer is a formal process that involves administrative and legal procedures. Your transfer involves payroll, HR, job description, availability of a position for transfer, and managerial approval. Do not underestimate the potential degree of difficulty in this move.

These are the big issues in requesting job transfers:

Why you want a transfer: Reasons for requesting a transfer are natural issues in this situation. Your request must be made on a reasonable basis, and within the employer's management guidelines. For example, requesting a transfer on the basis of a personal issue with a colleague may be an entirely unacceptable reason to the employer.

Where you want to be transferred: Another natural issue, and it's an issue you can use to your advantage. If you request a transfer to a job which relates to a career situation, or studies for qualifications in the industry, it's a very positive request, from the employer's perspective.

Availability of positions: The reality is that there may not be a position for you. That's not the employer's fault, but it may be yours, for not checking out the situation more thoroughly.

Most important: Do not ever put yourself in the position where your only options are the current job you're trying to transfer from, or out the door. You may wind up out the door. Remember, a transfer request can be seen in a very negative light by your existing manager.

Planning Your Transfer

Before you make your transfer request:

  • Make a clear decision about where you want to transfer, and why. You will be asked about these matters.
  • Check with HR about transfer procedures. Explain that you're looking at an opportunity in another department.
  • Check with HR about availability of jobs in your intended transfer area.
  • Ask if you can speak to the manager of the other area about a transfer. Try to make an appointment to visit the manager, if possible.
  • Speak to your own manager well in advance of any request and say that you're looking at the other job. That gives some warning, and doesn't leave the manager trying to fill holes in the workforce without notice.

Everybody who needs to know about your transfer has now been informed. You'll get useful information from all of these people, too, so your time definitely isn't being wasted with these preliminaries.

When Making Your Request

Do every part of your request for transfer strictly according to the guidelines. Make sure that you're OK with managers at both ends to apply for the transfer before making the application. Do not discuss your reasons for transfer beyond the basic fact that you're transferring. Make sure your workplace is properly cleared of all outstanding work before departure.