Applying Change Management Principles to Your Job Search


Searching for a new job can be extremely stressful in the best of times. Add to that a global pandemic, a wide scale decline in open jobs and a completely new way of working (remote workforce, anyone?) and you have a recipe for anxiety and overwhelm. Job loss and a change in careers are ranked as two of the top ten most stressful life changes for a reason but applying wisdom from the world of organizational change management can help. Read on for ways to apply the eight steps of Kotter’s Model of Change Management to your job search.

Create a Sense of Urgency 

While a sense of urgency is probably endemic in your personal job search, outside factors like severance packages and unemployment can act as a double-edged sword. While a relief of pressure is helpful to prevent jumping at any job offer rather than searching out the right fit, it can also allow for procrastination and other bad habits to arise. Create an opportunity statement that reminds you why continuing to act daily is important. 

Build a Guiding Coalition

Find effective “change leaders” in your life and network and ask them to help hold you accountable to the job search process. Having a coalition of people committed to helping you navigate the waters of finding a new career can not only help you feel supported but hold you accountable to the work that you must do to find a new job. 

Form a Strategic Vision and Initiatives

Take this opportunity to reflect and ponder the possibilities a career change can hold. Ask yourself the tough questions around job fulfillment and satisfaction and be willing to explore the possibility of something completely new. Link these ideas and possibilities to a compelling vision for your life going forward and create pathways to move in that direction.  

Enlist a Volunteer Army 

Be willing to ask your network for help tweaking your resume, reviewing your social media networks and providing references for you. No job search is truly successful in a vacuum- reach out to your network for help. 

Enable Action by Removing Barriers

Identify barriers to moving forward and take action to remove them. If the obstacle in the way is your own resistance, ask for help working through this emotionally. 

Generate Short Term Wins

Break action items down into workable, bite-sized chunks that allow you to make short term accomplishments every day. These short-term wins will eventually reap long term rewards. 

Sustain Acceleration 

Don’t take your foot off the gas. Sustaining the acceleration by taking small, actionable steps each day will help you avoid procrastination and job search burnout. 

Institute the Change

Kotter teaches that many change projects fail because victory is declared too early. Real change runs deep. Don’t mistake an early win or a job offer as the finish line. Each success offers an opportunity to continue building and growing.  Continuous improvement will allow for continued positive results.

Finding a new job is hard work, but it doesn’t have to cause overwhelm. Applying these change management principles can help provide a structured framework for forward momentum without the stress and anxiety that plague many while they search for a new career. 

Your Deep End Job Search coaches are here to help. Schedule a free 15-minute session to review your strategy or get “un-stuck.”

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