With tech layoffs in the headlines and economists still predicting a recession on the horizon, it’s no surprise that many people are rethinking their budgets and careers right now. And on LinkedIn, people are talking about something called “career cushioning.”
LinkedIn career expert Catherine Fisher puts it this way in her newsletter: “Career Cushioning is taking actions to keep your options open and cushion for everything that comes next in the economy and job market. Think of it like an insurance policy to set you up for success.”
Career depreciation differs from the traditional advice to work very hard at your job in hopes of avoiding a recession-time layoff. Instead of trying to make themselves indispensable in their current roles, career shock absorbers look outside their companies and start looking for their next job. Before they absolutely must.
So what does it look like in practice? Fisher recommends three key steps. First, take stock of your skills and work on building any missing skills you’d need to land your next great job, noting that “40% of companies on LinkedIn globally explicitly rely on skills to find the right job candidate”. So make sure your skills are also highlighted in your resume and professional profiles.
Second, she suggests keeping in touch with your network, because you never know who might be looking to hire someone just like you for a great new role. And finally, make a plan for the next steps you want to take in your career.
Others advocate for career amortization by actively applying for new jobs, even if you’re happy in your current position. For example, Quirk CEO Kate Pozeznik recently shared that she regularly applies for jobs despite being an entrepreneur herself. He explains: “Given mass layoffs, economic uncertainty and the growing number of disgruntled employees, it’s vital that we are prepared for any eventuality. I know it sucks to hear that, but it’s the reality. As a business owner, I’m not immune to fluctuating market. That’s one of the reasons I apply for jobs and take interviews.”
Of course, we all know that applying for a job is easier said than done. So people like Khadyajah Jenkins, Adobe’s Technical Talent Scout, share tips that have helped them get through recent job searches. In a viral LinkedIn post, Jenkins says that in her latest job search, she created three different versions of her resume and then tailored them to the roles she applied for.
And she also shared how she sought out companies known for treating employees well, writing, “Look at the Forbes 500 list and the list of best places to work. I wouldn’t go from one bad job to another. (I have suffered enough).”
Finally, she excelled in her pursuit by sending notes to recruiters, directors and hiring managers to show her interest in a new role. “LinkedIn premium gives you 80-100 connections. I created a note and sent connections every Sunday.” While this strategy hasn’t always resulted in many responses, she says the responses she has received have typically resulted in interviews.
But applying for a job is only half the battle — you also need to be able to interview well. Justin Scott, Adobe’s Talent Partner, recently shared interview tips that helped him bounce back after a layoff, and are great advice for anyone who’s writing off their career too.
First, she says that preparation is key. “Being able to tell stories with information — don’t just walk in with your resume and think you’ll bring up everything you’ve done on a whim. Practice talking about your experiences with a friend.” He remembers, even though some lucky and lucky people make it seem natural, interviewing is a skill, so the more you practice, the better you can become.
Scott also suggests preparing data-driven answers to common interview questions to help you show the value you’ve brought in your previous roles. “Find the data points and write at least five examples. What was the situation, how did you notice it, what did you do to work with others to change it, and what was the outcome?”
Ultimately, career cushioning is about understanding that your current job won’t last forever. The days of spending your entire career at the same company are long gone, so why not get ahead of the game by planning for things to change?
Now I’m curious: Are you doing anything to cushion your career or prepare for a recession? Tell me in the comments!