In an era of rapid technological advancements, shifting industries, and evolving job roles, the road to a successful career can feel more like a minefield. The once linear path has given way to a dynamic landscape, where the key to long-term professional success lies not just in finding a job, but in building a robust safety net around your career aspirations. Welcome to the world of “Career Cushioning” – a strategic approach designed to empower job seekers to navigate the uncertainties of the modern job market with confidence and resilience.
What is Career Cushioning?
Career cushioning has become increasingly popular in today’s frequently changing job market. It refers to staying prepared and keeping options open, even when content in your current role. Career cushioning allows you to proactively build resilience rather than reacting hastily if forced to find a new job unexpectedly.
No one wants to be caught off guard without options if made redundant or needing to switch roles. By building connections, continuously developing skills, and monitoring the job market, career cushioning provides protection and flexibility.
Top 5 Career Cushioning Tips
We’ve compiled a list of our top career cushioning tips while remaining dedicated to your current position:
Having a wide network of industry contacts is one of the best ways to cushion your career. But, how do you grow your network? Well, there are lots of ways to expand your industry network and it all comes down to putting yourself out there. You can begin by joining relevant LinkedIn groups as a way of tapping into new contacts. While there, be sure to follow key figures in your field and try to interact with their posts so they begin to recognise you as an industry expert.
Another great way to increase your industry network is to attend conferences or industry social events. Put yourself out there by introducing yourself to speakers and attendees. Collect business cards and connect with them afterwards by sending a quick follow-up email.
The goal of all of this networking is to establish relationships to reach out to if opportunities arise. But always remember to remain focused on your current work.
Bonus reading 👉 Networking Tips for Career Changers
2. Refresh your skills
Another essential part of career cushioning is to ensure your skills remain relevant, up-to-date and transferable. There are numerous ways to refresh your skills while in your current role. Taking on side projects, retraining courses and volunteer work will keep your skills sharp and help develop new ones. For example, a project manager could volunteer to manage a charity project after work hours. An accountant could take an online machine learning course.
But you can also develop new skills within your current job role. Consider signing up for mentoring positions within your current job to help you develop leadership skills. Take part in new projects that will take you out of your comfort zone and demonstrate your willingness and appetite for learning and personal development.
By developing your transferable skills, you’ll stay relevant in the job market should you ever need to search for a new career.
Bonus reading 👉 Refreshing Your Skills
3. Keep your finger on the pulse
80% of jobs are found online so it makes sense to take full advantage of the features that online job searching offers. Sign up for newsletters on leading job boards so interesting opportunities get sent right to your inbox. Follow relevant companies and recruiters on social media to be aware of available roles as soon as they are posted.
You can also subscribe to industry newsletters and podcasts to stay on top of sector trends. For example, which startups are expanding rapidly? Which sectors are suffering a skills shortage? This kind of market awareness enables quick reaction time while passively listening.
Bonus reading 👉 Best Jobs Boards For Older Workers
4. Refine your CV and online presence
Let’s face it, writing a CV isn’t the most exciting task when searching for a new job. But it can become a lot easier. Our key piece of advice here is to always maintain an updated CV and profile on LinkedIn. Have you taken part in a work project recently? Or perhaps you’ve been given new responsibilities in your current role? By updating your CV and LinkedIn profiles at the time, everything is fresh in your mind and you won’t forget any important information. Of course, this information can later be updated and refined before being sent out to prospective employers.
On that note, we also recommend drafting different versions of your CV tailored for the types of roles you may consider. Recruiters will know if they receive a generic CV so don’t waste your time. Keeping your CV and online presence up-to-date allows for prompt preparation of applications when interesting roles arise unexpectedly.
Bonus reading 👉 How to Write a CV for a Career Change
5. Become an interview pro
Like everything in life, practice makes perfect. And job interviews are no different. Especially if we consider the fact that 93% of candidates feel anxious before a job interview. Practising interview skills through mock interviews with a friend or speaking club can develop your skills. So, instead of letting your nerves get the better of you on the day, you can exude confidence during interviews and give yourself a better chance of landing your dream job.
You can also apply speculatively to roles slightly above your level just for the interview practice. It goes without saying that interviews should only be scheduled outside of your working hours and should in no way affect your current role.
Keeping your interview techniques sharp means you can perform excellently under pressure if urgently in need of a new job.
Bonus reading 👉 Interview Tips
Career cushioning provides vital insurance in difficult times. By proactively building resilience through continual development and an awareness of your options, you can build a safety net for career success. Indeed, make sure your current role remains your top priority.
At Refreshing a Career, our aim is to connect career changers with top employers. So, if you’re looking for a career change job, check out our dedicated job board for all the latest opportunities near you. Our career change resource hub is packed with advice and support for anyone considering a change of direction.
Are you an employer looking to employ career changers?
Our employer resource hub covers everything from funding and training to employment rights.
You’ll also find information on our full range of employer services, including advertising your roles on our live jobs board.
For more information, give us a call at 0345 872 4501 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.