How change managers can craft an effective resume

Change managers can be a vital piece of an efficient and well-run organization. Here's how to show off your talents to get that great change manager job.

Successful job interview with boss and employee handshaking

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Although it was identified before the 1900s, change management was formally introduced in 2003 by Prosci, a change management consulting company, as a structured way of applying tools, knowledge, and resources to effectively drive the success of an organization. The need for change management stems from the need to manage the impact of changes in organizations in three areas: Processes and tools, positions, and organizational functions.

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Change affects virtually all areas within all organizations, from human resources and information technology to the entire operation. Wherever there are people, processes, and technologies, the effects of change will be felt.

A change manager's job is to ensure that changes in the management process are well received and accepted across the organization. Those changes could be related to the workforce, corporate policies, or implementation of new technologies. A change management specialist needs to have strong knowledge of the effects of change and the ability to foresee how employees could react. 

Any candidate for a change manager position should have a strong understanding and experience with implementing change management principles and methodologies. The job also requires you to understand the employees and establish good communication with them. Like any job, you must have a good resume to land a position in this field. 

What skills do you need to be a change manager?

A good resume requires a list of your skills, abilities, and training, including an excellent understanding of how people experience change. You should also have top-notch listening skills, an ability to communicate well with all audiences, and an ability to build great relationships with staff. Your natural talent for planning strategy, and ability to work effectively at all levels of the organization should also be included.

Here are some key skills and considerations to include in your change management resume:

  • You are able to apply a structured methodology such as ADKAR and lead change management activities. For example, how did you apply different methodologies for individual vs. company-wide change management strategies? What was the result?
  • You have demonstrated successful design, development, delivery, and management of communications. Think about which communication strategies you were able to effectively use within different projects. Which of them worked the best in different scenarios?
  • You can assess the impact of changes made in the business' structure and identify key metrics. For example, what metrics worked best? How were they used, and what were the results?
  • You can support the design and delivery of training programs, including all documents required. Share information on the types of training programs you helped develop and what made them successful.
  • You are able to fully hear and understand the impact of change relating to individual jobs and the company as a whole. If a change manager is not in tune with the concerns of employees or the company, it's virtually impossible to effectively develop and apply strategies to address changes as they happen.
  • You can clearly discuss changes with all stakeholders and what steps need to be taken to avoid issues. Without effective and timely communication, important steps can get missed, making a smooth change process unlikely.
  • You have the ability to reduce the anxiety that often accompanies change within organizations. If anxiety exists, employees are more likely to intentionally or unintentionally withhold process-related information.
  • You can help increase buy-in from stakeholders that might otherwise fight change. If stakeholder relationships are strained or there's low buy-in, stakeholders may become obstacles to managing change rather than part of any solutions.
  • You ensure changes are in alignment with company-wide goals. If changes don't align with short- and long-term goals, companies are less likely to reach their goals on time, if at all.

Listing skills and work history are important, but not the only factor. The proper layout and format will help you get through the door for an interview. 

How should you format your resume?

After making sure your name and contact information are at the top (of course), craft a good career objective. The objective should be a combination of what you want and what you can offer your prospective employer. But make it short and simple--not more than two lines.  Your career objective might look like this:

Experienced change management specialist, focused on applying the best-structured methodologies and techniques to manage the effects of organizational change. As a  clear and strong communicator, my aim is to proactively help teams successfully adopt new technologies and processes.

Then add a summary of your skills, and try to squeeze in as many as possible without overdoing it. Then add any relevant work experience, starting with the most recent. Add a short and simple summary of the relevant tasks you performed for each organization. In the end, add your education.

Crafting a good resume is critically important. Your resume must make a good impression on the recruiter to get you in the door--then you can let your true self shine.

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