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How to Ask for a Job Transfer: Be Valuable

Ms. Inglish is a successful employment & training pro, setting Midwest regional records with tens of thousands placed in gainful employment.

Are You Ready for a Good Change?

Are you ready for a different place in which to do your work?

Are you ready for a different place in which to do your work?

Elements of a Job Transfer

Do you need a change of atmosphere in your career?

You may be considering a job transfer for any number of reasons and all your reasons may be good ones. However, you may want to master your current job duties completely before moving on to a similar job that seems improved or different. Several elements present themselves for consideration in your decision to ask for a transfer with your company.

Moving up, refreshed! A transfer can be better than a promotion and a lot like a vacation.

Moving up, refreshed! A transfer can be better than a promotion and a lot like a vacation.

  • First of all, in learning your job well and becoming an expert in it, you become a value-added, more flexible employee. You can function better in more scenarios than less well-trained associates. By learning new skills and cross training in other job titles in your own or other departments for your current employer, you can become an invaluable company guru. Your employer will be coming to you for everyday miracles.
  • You may have a job transfer in mind for a particular position in another department or company position. First, consider which of these jobs with your current employer offers the largest potential for promotion and further growth. If the new job is more challenging, it can boost your morale. If you can make your current job more challenging, you may earn a raise along with a morale boost.
Are you ready to move to a place where more doors of opportunity open to you?

Are you ready to move to a place where more doors of opportunity open to you?

How Often Is Too Often to Move or Request a Transfer?

Look at your specific reasons for a transfer and ensure that they are good and they make sense. Up until the Dot Com era, it was a certified psychological mark of a personality disorder if an employee switched jobs more often than once every two years.

After that, the IT industry made it usual for employees to change jobs every year to remain fresh and to bring new blood into information-based companies. Changing jobs more often than once a year is currently often a sign of some sort of problem, so it is prudent not to ask for transfers too often.

You cannot job-hop too frequently, even within your own company, because your current or a potential new boss will think that you are unstable and unproductive.

Think carefully about transfers to ensure they match your long-term personal and employment goals. For example, in some transfers, you may go back to the starting level of salary and lose income and seniority, meaning shorter vacations your first year on the new job!

Think carefully about transfers to ensure they match your long-term personal and employment goals.

Reasons to Do It

  • Bored? Not challenged on the job? If this is the case, demonstrate initiative and ask your boss for additional duties and responsibilities. You will be more challenged and may earn a raise!
  • Not enough compensation? Make sure to keep your employment portfolio up to date with your training and accomplishments well noted. Use this information to request a raise during your next performance review, or ask for a "sit down" with your boss to discuss the matter.
  • Problem with coworkers or supervisors? Work things out through channels before requesting a transfer, or the same problems could recur in a new department. However, if the problem is sexual harassment, a transfer is often the prescribed official remedy.
  • Want a promotion? Remember that transfers are often "later" in that they do not constitute promotions or include pay raises. Change solely for the sake of change can be seen as irresponsible. However, one remedy is to join a temporary agency that offers full-time benefits with a selection of changing job venues. Another possibility, for healthcare professionals, it to become a travel nurse or other traveling health professional. They even make more money because they travel.
  • Want to work overseas? That's great! You will need a sponsor made possible through your employer. Check out all the specifics: travel and work visas, passports, etc.
  • Is your spouse's employment moving to an area in which your company operates? That can be a blessing. Employers will often work out transfers to accommodate you in this case. However, do not permit yourself to bully or be bullied into a move that is not right for you. You or your spouse can say, "No" and should be respected for it.
  • Health Reasons: Do you need a warmer climate in a region to which you can transfer with your current employer? Talk to your boss and HR to make arrangements. Keeping you in a region that harms your health will cost your employers dollars as well as pangs of conscience.
  • Education: Can you transfer to a place where a school is located you would like to attend? Discuss this with your employer. Often, there are branch campuses right in your own city that you are not aware of. How about distance learning? Many colleges, universities and vocational schools offer online classes and your employer may even pay for them or reimburse you if you earn a minimum grade level. However, if not, arrange a transfer through your boss and HR if you can.
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Stepping up the ladder of your career -- Much success to you in your new works site!

Stepping up the ladder of your career -- Much success to you in your new works site!

Formal Job Transfer Request

You will need to make a professionally written request and justify your reasons for transferring in your letter.

  • Begin with your specific purpose for writing: your transfer request.
  • Highlight your abilities, accomplishments, and experience with this employer.
  • Compliment your employer and your boss as being top-notch. Write about your commitment to the company.
  • State specifically why you want to transfer and/or advance in the company
  • As with your cover letter for your original position, focus on what you can continue to do for the company

Transfer Request Letter

The sample letter below has worked for dozens of my clients.

[HR Director or Supervisor Name]

[Company Name]



Dear [HR Director or Supervisor]:

The [department title] Department of [company name] is accepting applications for [job title] and I am submitting my resume for your consideration for a transfer to this new position.

I have worked for [company name] for [number] years, in the position of [job title], and have found a professional and efficient organization with good communications and one that is supportive of employees and their development. At this time, I want to continue to enhance my professional growth with your firm and move my career ahead.

My contribution to the company has thus far included the following achievements that can be used in the new position to good advantage:

  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D

These accomplishments and my increasing skills will bring further productivity and profits via this new position with the company. I look forward to continued growth within this company throughout my career.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to serving the company in new and ever expanding capacities.


[Insert Signature Here]

[Type Name Here]

[Job Title/Department]

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: How exactly should I write a letter to my Human Resources Department to report my line manager for declining my transfer request?

Answer: Does your company have a written policy that states that your line manager must transfer you, or is there a guideline for when he/she must grant a transfer? If not, then there is nothing legitimately to report. However, you can contact HR to ask them to consider your request for transfer -- Type out your request in a letter using plain language, and with good grammar and punctuation. Take that letter with you in an envelope to a meeting you will request with an HR representative. State your case politely, ask for the transfer, participate in the discussion, and then give the representative the letter for your file.

Question: How do I respond to a declined transfer request at my job?

Answer: Some rejected job candidates do not respond at all, but I don't think this is the best practice.

The best case is one in which you have spoken with your current supervisor and received a verbal OK to transfer, based on good solid reasons that hopefully help the company as well as yourself. Then you would speak with your potential new supervisor and request a transfer. After a verbal OK, you would go back to your current supervisor with a formal written request, which should be accepted. If you receive a verbal "no" to begin with, then going ahead with a written request is likely unwise.

Now, if you still want a transfer after the official verbal or written "no" from your current boss, then you might try making an appointment with that person to restate your case respectfully, but more firmly. In the case in which you want to transfer much closer to where you live, then explaining the costs of transportation might help. You may even need to say that you would be forced to quit because of transportation expenses.

Whatever your need for transfer, explain exactly how the transfer will help both your company and yourself. If it helps only you, then you have less chance of approval.

In the worst case, you would quit and reapply at the other job site, but you would lose your accumulated benefits in doing so and would have to start over. Some companies have a policy which forbids an employee from taking this action, but it is being tested in the courts right now.

© 2007 Patty Inglish MS


Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 03, 2018:

Yes, I think so. If you go to HR first, they will tell him all about it anyway.

Trey on December 01, 2018:

Hi again Ms. Inglish,

Thank you for your response. I have considered that as an option before but didn't mention it because I worry the scenario would put me in an awkward situation if my supervisor turn out to be unable or unwilling to help. In that worst case scenario, it doesn't work out and now he knows my significant other is on the opposite coast and that I am probably looking to quit so I can relocate. Am I over thinking this?

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 01, 2018:

@Trey - I recommend that you speak with your supervisor first. He/she needs to know, can help you from there, and may even refer you to HR.

Trey on November 30, 2018:

Hello there! I really enjoyed reading your article as it helped open up some ideas. But would still like to hear how you might approach my situation.

I just started working at my company on the East coast 6 months ago, and I'm in a serious relationship with my girlfriend who's working on the West coast. I found out my company has an office in her city and there is an opening for a similar role. However, I can't find any company policies for internal transfer and there isn't an internal application page. There's also no contact for the open position.

Should I reach out to HR first to inquire about the internal transfer policy? Or should I go straight to trying to find a contact for the new role and if discussions go well, then approach my supervisor? Thanks!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 05, 2018:

Charlie: I think it best to discuss this with your supervisor as soon as possible, provided that your branch in the other city is willing to take you. Your supervisor can help you determine that.

Charlie Brown 123 on May 04, 2018:

Great article Patty! You mention your spouse's employment moving to an area in which your company operates as a reason to request a transfer.

It just so happens that this is my case at the moment (I work in one city whereas my wife works in another). Issue is that I have just started with the company. I have recently discovered that my company will be employing people with my profile in my wife's city. How early would you deem appropriate to discuss the possibility of a transfer with my manager?

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on November 04, 2016:

I think that one looks like it will help, ashley.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 18, 2016:

GoArmyEd on the web has templates to fill out online or to print out a hard copy, but I don't see any already-filled-out examples.

yaeko on October 18, 2016:

Hey writing - I learned a lot from the specifics - Does anyone know if my company might be able to acquire a template Request for TA Recoupment Waiver - Withdrawal for Military Reasons example to use ?

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 20, 2012:

Sometimes you need no reason at all, especially if a layoff is imminent.

htodd from United States on May 20, 2012:

Hi patty

I think we need proper reason for transfer otherwise they will reject it ..

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 05, 2012:

We're sorry this happened to you and best wishes for the future.

Rohit Sharma on March 05, 2012:

I am from Bangalore..I have just taken a lateral movement...I was into presales profile in my present company but moved to the technical side again as I like doing technical work.My salary was 70% fixed and 30% variable which I used to get quarterly.In the technical role there is no variable pay but I got some hike over my fixed .So in short I'll be facing loss of almost 2 to 2.5 Lakh INR .It is becoming difficult to accept that I'll be working at a lower salary and also my promotion was expected which I wont get because of this move.I am totally frustrated that how come I have done such a blunder in my life.I have screwed my career.Dont't know if it is going to pay in long run but right now I think of myself the most stupid person .I took the decision in very haste and initiated the transfer by myself.It was just one moment when I said yes I agree with the offer and I am screwed for lifetime.

Mthobisi on January 18, 2012:

Any post available for task force

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 15, 2012:

Years you would stay in your current US position. With good fortune, you might be given less time to remain here.

jon32 on January 15, 2012:

Thanks Patty. By timeline, do you mean years I'd like to work abroad or years I'd be willing to stay on in my current US position?



Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 14, 2012:

Ad some sort of timeline for him, such as 1 year, two years, 3 years, so he knows he can depend on you a little longer during a transition. Ask him what amount of time would be right for him before you transfer out. That and all you've proposed to say should do it for any reasonable boss.

jon32 on January 13, 2012:

Patty, thank you for the helpful article. I've worked for a professional services company for almost 2 years now, and am interested in transferring to an international role. I know there are positions open and that the firm is generally supportive of such moves, but am very hesitant to ask my manager because 1) my team is short of people and I don't think he'd like to lose me as a resource, 2) he brought me in 2 years ago and will be surprised / disappointed that I'm interested in leaving, and 3) while I'm well regarded, he is very senior and if he is not supportive, I could be next on the chopping block!

I wanted to ask you how to canvas my request to him to maximize the chances of gaining his support. Was thinking of being fairly deferential and saying something like, "I just wanted to chat about gaining international experience at the firm. I've really enjoyed working on our team in the US, but have always wanted to cultivate an international career. I've gained hugely valuable skills, which I think I could apply in an international role to help grow the firm. I haven't spoken with anyone else about this yet, and wanted to come to your first to get your guidance." Thoughts?



Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 02, 2011:

Hi Maria -

I think that is something to be confronted. Does your boss know you wantr the transfer? Have a discussion about your wanting to advance and how a tranfer can help you. Good luck!

Maria on December 02, 2011:

Hi Matt, Patty

I am in a similar situation. I am requesting a transfer and should it not be successful (if they promote within their dept), then I would be back at square one with my dept.

I am worried that my boss will see my reasons for requesting to leave, as me being unhappy and that she will make it very difficult for me.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 24, 2011:

I don't think so - you've made new friends by giving of yourself in interviews and surely impressed people. These contacts are valuable and now at a deeper leve.

Matt on September 24, 2011:

Thank you... I followed your advise and received a call he said that the process at his location is taking place and that when the position is officially available he will get in touch with both me and my bosses... I hope all goes through smoothly, I'm getting a little impatient and worried...

Here's one final question; Given the scenario I describe if something falls though and they either promote within their own branch or simply they decide to not fill the position for what ever reason, would I have burned a bridge or put me in a situation where I will be at a stand still?

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 21, 2011:

The Thank You letter is a good idea. If after that you hear nothing by Tuesday morning, call the person to whom you sent the letter.

Matt on September 21, 2011:

So here is a scenario for you (my current one):

I wanted a transfer for both personal and professional reasons such as the ones highlighted above. I had a specific area in mind and networked myself until I found out who the big guy in charge was (we call them 'unit managers'; they run a large area within a state. His office luckily was based out of the location I would like to transfer to). I called him up and simply talked to him about any positions that are available, my career goals, some background, and my reasons for leaving my current location. He tells me that no positions are available but that he will keep me in mind... A little over a week later on a Thursday he calls me, tells me that one opened up and that I should follow the proper etiquette. Next day I request a, meeting with my one superior (this is friday) the other more direct boss is once vacation and returns sunday. We discuss my job hunting in this new area, why I'd like the transfer, who I spoke with, and that he contacted me with the job offer and that he would be calling them within the beginning of next week to get professional recommendations from them and to get the ball roaming if all is favorable. I walked away feeling confident in his approval. My other boss comes back from vacation and ironically is doing an employee performance audit/ review on me which is 99.9% A+ material on monday. He went over it with me I then notify him in the same manor I did with my other boss of my actions in an attempt to transfer and request his blessing, his favorable recommendation and ultimately his approval when/ if the unit manager calls. Again, confident all is o.k.

I called the unit manager up saturday after talking to my first boss and thank him for the thought, consideration, and courtesy of keeping me in mind and contacting me when this oppurtunity came up and that I look forward to hearing from him regarding his feedback and the necessary steps to continue in this process.

It is now wednesday after business hours and still no word from the unit manager or either of my superiors. I'm considering giving him another call to find something out but I don't want to be pushy. I've also, thought of asking my superiors if they have heard from him but I don't want to seem impatient/ desperate/ eager to not working with them anymore.

What do I do at this point? Advise please. Here is quick background; I'm a college graduate, who worked for this company for three years every break as seasonal. When I graduated I communicated with my superiors that I wanted to advance in the company to a more professional/ career role in which they displayed eagerness but none the less I clearly would have to pay my dues be patient and, earn it. I started seeking positions at this other location for many reasons but I set this area/ district as a personal goal. My entertains where to continue sd I have been and jump on the first opportunity that came up. This position is a foot in the door to more advancement and gaining a more professional role.