3 reasons you don't need experience to get a job in Change
I’m not gonna lie. We Changies (that’s people who work in Change Management #notanofficialtitle) can be an exclusive bunch. As a profession still budding and earning its stripes, there’s not as many Change practitioners out there as say… Project Managers. In fact, many people still don’t even know that Change Management is a discipline, profession and skill set in and of itself!
Which makes making the career change to Change pretty hard sometimes.
It can feel like there’s this cone of silence around what Change Management is, how to do it, and how to change careers into it.
And for those that do work it out, they get met by many (not all!) recruiters and hiring managers whistling this old chestnut: “You don’t have any experience in Change.”
And I hear you now… “Well, how am I meant to get experience in Change, if you won’t give me my first job in Change?!” **mic drop, walks off stage**
Well, I’m here to ease your frustration. Because the truth that no one wants to tell you is: you don’t necessarily need experience in Change Management to get a job in Change.
Here’s 3 reasons why:
#1: No one started out in Change
As far as I know, there is no "Bachelor of Change Management" anywhere in the world. The closest I can find is Bachelor’s in Leadership and Change Management from the Open University of Switzerland and that seems to be for managers, not Change Managers. Otherwise, you only formally train in Change Management as a unit within another undergraduate degree or a postgraduate Masters, or through a Graduate Certificate or industry accreditation.
Which means - pretty much no one ever started out their career doing Change Management. They started somewhere else and moved into Change Management. And at some point, everyone has had to start in Change with little to no experience. Everyone!
#2: Change is an approach, not a methodology
There are methodologies for Change Management. But as Change becomes more and more complex, fit-for-purpose Change Management is more and more needed. This is where you use your whole skill set from everything you’ve ever done in your career, plus Change tools, templates and skills to support or lead change successfully. Trying to follow the bouncing ball through Change can give you great documentation and plans, but no one may ever look at them and they probably aren’t going to make your stakeholders swoon. It’s how you approach change, the relationships you build, risks you manage, readiness you create, and embedding you empower that is going to make the difference. I absolutely endorse getting training in Change - just be smart about who you learn from because practical application may serve you faster in the real world than theory and concepts.
#3: You’ve experienced Change and you’ve been doing Change
I’ll never forget reading an opinion piece on parenting and the writer states that even if she doesn’t have her own children, she can have an opinion on parenting because she has been parented before - she’s been through the experience of being parented, from her own parents. I’d say the same for Change. You’ve experienced great change and poor change. You’ve felt the difference. And even if you can’t articulate why one was great and one was poor, you know there was a difference. On top of this, you’ve been doing Change. Change is like a melting pot of skill sets from a million other professions, jobs and roles and that’s why I say Change Management itself is a transferable skill (just like many of the sub-skills that make up Change skills). So you’ve probably got several of the skills, you may just not have been calling it Change.
How do I know all this? Because I got my first job in Change Management without any prior formal roles in Change. And because I’ve helped many clients do the same. And [blatant plug] to make it even easier, I’ve got my FREE Change Tools Masterclass coming up on Thursday 19 August which will uncover all the basics of Change and most importantly - the practical application. There’ll be tools, templates, live demos and Q&A. So if you’ve ever wanted to explore a career in Change Management, there’s never been a better time to do it.
Register your free spot here, and be quick as spaces are limited:
Lata Hamilton is a Change Leadership expert who is passionate about helping others make the career change to Change. She also plugs her free online workshops in her blog posts. Like this one: register for her free Change Masterclass here.