BLUF: do I aim for the one that's open now or the one I've wanted for nearly 8 years?
Long story told short: I was hired as a peon almost 8 years ago. In Oct 2007, I got promoted to Manager of a team. In July, 2008, we had a reduction in force but rather than lay me off, they offered me the opportunity to go back to being a peon - which I accepted. I've been doing the grunt work (which I loathe but at which I excel quite a bit) for 18 mos now and I've applied for a number of managerial positions during that time.
The HR business partner (whom I've known for the entirety of my tenure) indicated that the recruiters don't see / pay attention to what other internal job applications a candidate has submitted in the past; they are looking for a close match to the position based on the application & resume.
There was an incident last week wherein one of the managers on my floor was let go and there will in all likelihood be a posting in the days/weeks to come for her replacement. The position is similar to the managerial job I previously held in this company, though it would be managing a team which has much higher: stress, client contact, visibility and direct impact to the overall West Division.
When I logged onto the Career board this morning to see if that position had been listed yet (it had not), I saw that another position was listed. This second position is actually one to which I applied back in August. I reviewed the position description and my backgroudn with my VP prior to applying and she gave me the "blessing from on-high" saying she thought I was "completely qualified" for it. The recruiter for that original listing didn't even acknowledge my submission and they gave it to someone else.
The person who landed that role is a "friend" of mine (we just started co-leading the Activities Committee together but before that it was just playful-yet-professional intereactions the last few years.) I've scheduled some time with him to review the position, get his take on what it was they were looking for, see where or how I could improve my chances of getting my foot in the door for an interview & hopefully an offer.
I'm also meeting with my boss the following day (provided she's back from sick leave) to review and discuss the "let go" position and how I might best position myself for the opportunity if/when it becomes available. It's a position I interviewed for about a year after I started working at this company and they selected someone else (the person who was just let go.) Obviously there's not a lot of turnover in the role and I would love the opportunity to work with those folks.
That said, I would do great at either role. I thrive in a management role - more so than my results as an individual contributor. My ideal preference would be the opportunity upstairs with the "friend" of mine because the position is much closer to what I did in the past (before coming to this company.) At the same time, I don't want to look like I'm schizophrenic or desperate to get out of my current (contributor) role and would jump at any opening.