How To Write A Cover Letter For An Internal Position Or Promotion

By Chris Kolmar - Aug. 31, 2020

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Have you been working a paid position with your current employer for a long period of time and starting to think about pursuing a promotion? Or, perhaps you’re about to complete an internship and considering submitting a job application for a full-time role.

In either scenario, the process of being selected from the total pool of candidates is a bit more complicated than you might at first suspect.

First of all, it’s important to take into account the fact that there are very likely fellow employees or interns within the company who are going to be coveting the same position.

Secondly, there is an additional pool of external job applicants that you will need to compete with. In other words, you should not assume that the job will be granted to you simply because you’ve already put in the hard work in your present role.

Having said that, it’s also important to keep in mind that there are some useful and effective strategies that you can adopt to maximize your chances of landing the internal position or promotion that you’re after.

Drafting and submitting a well-crafted cover letter, in particular, will make it much more likely that you’ll stand out from the crowd of other applicants.

How An Internal Cover Letter Differs From A Standard Cover Letter

Now, it’s important to understand from the outset that the process of drafting a cover letter for an internal position or promotion will differ in some important respects from that of a cover letter that’s submitted by an external applicant.

In the case of a cover letter for an internal position or promotion, the hiring manager will very likely already be (at least somewhat) familiar with the applicant’s background and experience, which makes it very important for the applicant to record details as truthfully as possible.

In the latter case, an employer will be largely unfamiliar with the applicant’s professional profile, so there’s always the chance that the applicant might risk exaggerating (or fabricating) some of the information that’s included. This leads to an understandable wariness in the minds of many hiring managers when they’re reviewing the qualifications of an external candidate.

It’s also important to bear in mind that internal applicants have some significant advantages over external applicants in the review and hiring process. As an internal applicant, you’ll be able to:

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
  • Draw on specific contributions that you’ve already made to the company

  • Include references who are (ideally) trusted acquaintances of the hiring manager

  • Understand what the company values and use that to your advantage

These factors make it much more likely that your application will be favored – and ultimately selected – during the hiring process.

How To Write A Cover Letter For An Internal Position Or Promotion

In order to craft a stand-out cover letter that will stand out among the pile of other applications, it will be crucial to understand the specific elements

that should be included. Those include (in order of appearance):

  1. Date of submission

  2. Employer/hiring manager/recruiter name (whoever will be reading the cover letter) and professional information

  3. Information regarding the specific role and department that you’re applying for

  4. Detailed (but brief) explanation of your current role, previous experience, and notable achievements at your employer’s company. Be sure to highlight both “hard skills” (technical skills) as well as “soft skills” (interpersonal communication skills)

  5. Explanation of how you’re uniquely well-suited to the demands and requirements of the role you’re applying to (given your previous experience with the company)

  6. Expression of gratitude to your employer for your previous experience with the company up to this point, and for the opportunity to be considered for the role you’re now applying for

  7. Information regarding how the recipient – i.e, the hiring manager or your employer – can get in touch with a trusted referral (be sure to confirm with that referral beforehand that he or she is willing to have their information included in your cover letter)

  8. Your name (and signature if you’ll be handing in a physical copy of the cover letter)

Okay – now that we have a basic idea of the specific components that should be included in your cover letter, let’s now walk through a quick example of what a completed cover letter for an internal position ought to look like.

Cover Letter Example for an Internal Position or Promotion

Keeping in mind all of the themes that we’ve already outlined above, here’s a sample cover letter for an internal position or promotion:

August 21, 2020

Marissa Swarts
Human Resources Manager
Swarts & Sons Enterprises
marissa.swarts@swartsandsons.com

Dear Mrs. Swarts,

I’m excited to submit my candidacy for the role of Content Strategist in the company’s Marketing department.

I began my employment with Swarts & Sons in August, 2018 as an Assistant Copywriter. I have spent the last two years honing and broadening my abilities, and learning a great deal from my managers within the department. I believe that the job requirements of the Content Strategist role that you’ve outlined on the company website match with the skill set I have developed during my tenure with the company.

I’ve contributed to a wide range of valuable projects for the company. Beginning in February of 2019, I spearheaded the new blog strategy which has become the primary format for blog post drafting and publishing across the entire Marketing department. Additionally, I helped launch a department-wide training program on basic SEO practices in May, 2019. This program has boosted our company’s website traffic by as much as 25%.

If you’re interested in learning more about my experience and accomplishments within the company, I encourage you to reach out to my supervisor, Edwin James (edwin.james@swartsandsons.com). I have worked closely with Mr. James over the course of the last two years, and he would be glad to answer any questions that you might have about my suitability for the Content Strategist role.

Thank you very much for your time and for the opportunity to be considered for this position. It’s been a great privilege working with Swarts & Sons, and I look forward to continuing to grow within the company.

Sincerely,

Andy Axelrod

Promotion And Internal Cover Letter Tips

As you prepare to draft your cover letter for an internal position or promotion, make sure you keep these following four key points in mind:

  • Don’t assume that you’ll be chosen solely on the basis of the fact that you have experience within the company you’re applying to. If you’re keenly interested in a job opening, there’s a very good chance that a large number of other internal (as well as external) applicants are too.

  • By drafting and submitting a high-quality cover letter, you have a golden opportunity to communicate the specific reasons why you’re the ideal candidate for the role.

  • Cover letters are not to be taken lightly. In many cases, they (along withresumes) will be a key factor in a hiring manager’s decision regarding which applicants are qualified to advance to theinterview stage.

  • Adhering closely to a tried-and-true cover letter template (like the one we’ve outlined above) will help you to create a cover letter that will grab the eye of any hiring manager.

  • Brevity is important. Hiring managers and HR employees, after all, tend to be very busy people, and it’s one of their job requirements to review dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of job requirements. With that in mind, you should make it your goal to be concise, and to provide them with all of the information that they need (and to portray yourself as a valuable asset) in as few words as possible. If the length of your cover letter exceeds one full single-spaced page, you’ve included too much information.

Writing a cover letter could very well be the determining factor which propels you to the next phase of your career. By following the cover letter tips outlined above, you’ll have a much higher chance of being noticed and granted the professional opportunities that you’re after.

You’ve already proved your own capabilities to yourself throughout the course of your employment or your internship – your cover letter is your chance to prove it to your boss.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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