Prepping for an internal promotion in the next normal

by Jul 1, 2021

Are you prepping for an internal promotion?

Familiarity can breed contempt which is why prepping for an internal promotion is as important as an external one.


Research suggests that internal candidates are more successful than external candidates and onboard more rapidly. The reason can be both a positive and a negative. The organisations know you. But familiarity can breed contempt which is why prepping for an internal promotion is as important as an external one.

Familiarity breeds contempt

We have all been sitting at home for over a year and our colleagues and bosses have probably seen us in varying degrees of dress down, not just on casual Fridays but casual Monday through Thursday. Today, when everyone has been struggling to different degrees, how can you start to present your “best self” in an interview to people within your organisation, who are familiar with everyone single one of your “selves?” This is also when your best self, whoever that was, may have been on a pandemic hiatus for 15 months.

We am frequently asked for tips on what women should do. All we can offer is data and leave you to make the choice. Women are judged more harshly on their appearance than men, especially in interview situations. While men channeled what Dorothy Dalton calls basement pandemic chic, wearing the ubiquitous hat or cap, women were being told to wear make-up and look nicer or sexy on Zoom calls. Clearly, we are not OK with that.

Whether you decide to take on the system or find a workaround compromise, that is your call. For most, it’s a question of conveying energy and enthusiasm for the next normal and looking dynamic and at least a bit healthy. Get outside for some fresh air and exercise, if it’s not blowing a gale and raining sideways.

Women and appearance

The hairdressers are open pretty much everywhere. Now is the time to break-up with L’Oreal (it’s hard, but you can do it!).  Maybe get a new hairstyle so that people see you through a different lens. I would suggest a hard pass on the “bun lift” Instagram trend, when hair is pulled up so tight from the face it serves as a face-lift. A little Touche Eclat never goes amiss. If you are not a make-up fan, take the Scarlett O’Hara route and pinch your cheeks. Fast, cheap, and efficient but …painful.

Now is the time probably to retire your emotional support wardrobe of soft pants and sloppy sweatshirts. It’s also the moment even when working from home if you are external facing (and that also means your colleagues) getting back to some sort of professional look rather than for one day for your interview.

We have talked about Brain Fog – but don’t count on your boss having total amnesia – even if you hope they might.

It’s now time to stop being too relaxed around colleagues unless they are really your friends.

Read: Executive Presence and Professional Image


Prepping for an internal promotion

Here are some basic tips for prepping for an internal promotion

1. Talk with your boss

Before making an application or an interview process with your boss. This will give you the opportunity to get some feedback and tips on what you need to highlight or who you should speak to. Ask for strategic introductions and follow-up. They may also be willing to sponsor your candidacy. This is a nice bonus.

2. Research the position

As you would for any other job process research the position. Check who you need to talk to so that you are familiar with the department and the culture if it’s outside your own section. You have an advantage over external candidates by gaining the inside scoop.

3. Prepare your pitch

Check out your skills and experience against the requirements of the job ad so you can highlight them in an internal process. Do not expect people within your company to know everything about you. They may not. If you have any new achievements put those on your LinkedIn profile because they may research you online.

Take a look at our Career Shop for Interview coaching to land your dream job 

4. Cover areas of vulnerability

Covering areas of vulnerability is harder for internal candidates. If you have specific issues that any interviewers or decision makers may know about, make sure you have good responses prepared.  This might be a late or failed project, a weakness your colleagues may be aware of (e.g. presentation skills.) Demonstrate actions you have taken to deal with this or the learnings gained from the experience. As a bonus take steps to upskill.

 3Plus can help you to make the most of this time with sessions to work on your professional development. Find out more HERE.

5. Peer feedback

Ask your colleagues for their point of view and how they receive you. Are there any gaps you hadn’t thought of? Discuss with them how they think you might improve. Don’t get defensive or take it personally. If you do become sensitive, process that reaction with a mentor or a coach.

6. Interview format

Prepping for an internal promotion post-pandemic also brings us into new territory. Will the interview be online? Or in person? If it is going to be face to face I would suggest a socially distanced environment where you don’t have to wear a mask. If given a choice, opt for an online interview which is better than a live one wearing a mask. All the other rules about your virtual environment will apply.


Do you need further help to enable you to develop a positive mindset? Then get in touch today!


Staff Writer: Career Contributor
3Plus welcomes any writers to join 3Plus as a Staff Writer. If you are an expert in Job Search, Career and Mentoring or just want to share your experiences, contact us! We would love to give you a voice!

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