Should I apply for an internal position for which I'm not currently qualified, for the purpose of presenting my resume to senior management?

I'm a mid-level manager at a public university. I manage a staff of 8 people and report to the director of my department. My director reports to one of the VP's of the university. That VP position is about to open up and the director isn't interested in applying for it. I've heard through the rumor mill that the university is looking to hire someone from outside, but ostensibly the job is open to all applicants. I'm considering applying for this position just so the senior management here will look at resume. I want to be considered for future opportunities here, and they aren't always advertised formally like this one. In fact, I'm sure that if the senior management had an internal candidate in mind, this position wouldn't have been advertised.

So, what's the harm in throwing my resume out there? I know you all will offer some valuable advice. Thanks.

calpron's picture

While I have never been in your situation, I would say in general it isn't a good idea.  If you do not qualify for a position or do not intend to accept a position should it be offered to you, then you should not apply for that position.  If they see your resume and you obviously don't qualify for the role, then you could be hurting your career by giving them the perception that you think you do and you don't really know what the position requires.   

There are other ways for your resume (yourself) noticed.   You should build a reputation of achievement (on projects important to senior leaders), build a relationship with those senior leaders, and then ask them for advice.  Every organization is different, but all the senior leaders where I work are more then happy to spend time with "promising talent".  

Just my perspective.



AppleJack's picture

It sounds like you have some conflicting info: the rumor mill says they want to hire someone from outside, you think they have an internal candidate in mind. Either way the odds are not in your favor. Often universities require that for certain types of positions there must be a search, public notices must go out, etc., etc. However, if there is a specific candidate in mind, other applicants really do not have much of a chance, unless the intended candidate does not want the position (it happens).

Chris has the right idea regarding how to go about getting yourself noticed. When you are, senior management will suggest that you to apply for the position.


sbiggin's picture

Chris and Applejack, thanks for the advice.

Sounds like it boils down to the fundamentals- achievement and relationships. I get that.

GlennR's picture

Let me support "achievements and relationships."

Remember in the 1992 US presidential race, James Carville hung up a sign in the Clinton HP that said, "It's the economy, stupid!"? I believe that saying could be paraphrased to say, "It's the relationships, y'all!.-) (Yea, we say "Y'all where I come from:-)

If I were to get a do-over for my last 10 years I would focus on building more effective relationships with my co-workers, many of whom are my internal customers. Related to this, I would be a little more extroverted in marketing my successes. I've come to realize that there have been times when I've hidden my accomplishments under the proverbial bushel basket.

How effective is your internal network? How are you perceived by your co-workers? Those above, at the same level, and below you in other departments besides your own? Are you known as someone with the ability to get things done? Someone who is always willing to lend a hand? Do you put the betterment of the organization above your own department's or your own performance objectives?

In other words, how can you become a rising star? I don't believe you can do that without a successful track record which is a lot easier to accomplish when you build effective relationships.