Dear Matt: Why do employees have to reapply for a job? What is the purpose of this and why do companies ask current employees to reapply for jobs? What do I need to do to stand out even though they know me?

Matt: This is a tough spot to be in but it is not as uncommon as it sounds. Because of layoffs, budget cuts or internal staff reviews/audits, companies may look to open up currently filled positions for a variety of reasons - unfortunately in most cases they are not explained to often-surprised employees.

Caleb Fullhart, a Twin Cities-based recruiter with Accenture, knows all about this type of situation. He worked for a company that was bought out by another company and because the new owners wanted to downsize, he had to reapply for his job. In his case, there were 30 people within the company applying for only eight open spots. And in addition to internal clients, outside candidates were also allowed to apply.

"It was very stressful," says Fullhart.

To alleviate any stress, Fullhart recommends using your institutional knowledge. In other words, take advantage of the fact that you not only know the company, but the department goals, clients, vendors and team members. You have built relationships with key people involved with the success of your job/department/division and know what is needed to succeed in the job on a daily basis. This will also help you keep things moving forward without any lag time for new hire training, or getting a new hire up to speed.

But don't just say it, prove it. Use past performance reviews or recognition you have received to back your claims. Use examples of projects you have led or completed, showing how you have saved money, gained new business or increased your client base. Show how you have adapted in your job to any changes in the marketplace or within the company and still produced results. You have an advantage over outside candidates because of your experience with the company. Show it with numbers, results and data to back up your claims.

While it's hard to say the exact reasons for this happening without knowing the unique circumstances within your company, it should be a good reminder to keep your résumé updated and to keep good records of your successes and key accomplishments while at your job - and throughout your career. This is not only important information if you are applying for a new job outside your current company, but as this case shows, it's important to have to keep your job with your current company.

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