With tech layoffs in the headlines and economists still predicting a recession on the horizon, it’s not surprising that many people are rethinking their budgets and their careers right now. And on LinkedIn, people are talking about something called “career damping.”
LinkedIn Career Expert Catherine Fisher defines it this way in her newsletter: “Career Cushioning is taking actions to keep your options open and cushioning for what comes next in the economy and the job market. Think of it as an insurance policy to protect yourself. ready for success.”
Career dampening differs from the traditional advice to work extra hard in hopes of avoiding a layoff when a recession hits. Instead of trying to make themselves indispensable in their current role, career buffs look outside of their company and calmly begin the search for their next job before they absolutely must.
What does that look like in practice? Fisher recommends three key steps. Take stock of your skills first and work on building any skill gaps you need to land your next great job, pointing out that “40% of companies on LinkedIn globally rely explicitly on skills to find the right applicant. So make sure your skills are highlighted on your resume and professional profiles as well.
Second, she suggests staying in touch with your network, because you never know who might be looking for someone like you for a great new position. And finally, make a plan for the next steps you want to take in your career.
Others advocate career support by actively applying for new jobs, even if you are happy in your current position. For example, Kate Pozeznik, CEO of Quirk, recently shared that she regularly applies for jobs despite being a business owner herself. She explains: “Given massive layoffs, economic uncertainty and the rising number of dissatisfied employees, being prepared for any eventuality is critical. I know it sucks to hear that, but it’s the reality. As an entrepreneur I’m not sensitive to market fluctuations either, which is one of the reasons I apply for jobs and conduct interviews.”
Of course we all know that applying for a job is easier said than done. So people like Khadyajah Jenkins, Technical Talent Scout at Adobe, share tips that have helped them get through recent job openings. In a viral LinkedIn post, Jenkins says she created three different versions of her resume during her last job search and then modified them to match the positions she applied for.
And she also shared how she sought out companies known to treat employees well, writing, “Look at the Forbes 500 list and the Best Places to Work list. I wasn’t about to go from one bad place to another. to go. (I have suffered ENOUGH).”
Finally, she stood out in her search by sending notes to recruiters, directors, and hiring managers to express her interest in a new role. “LinkedIn premium gives you 80-100 connections. I made a note and sent connections every Sunday.” While this strategy didn’t always get the same amount of responses, she says the ones she did hear usually led to interviews.
But applying is only half the battle: you must also be able to apply well. Recently, Justin Scott, Talent Partner at Adobe, shared the application tips that helped him get back on his feet after a layoff, and they’re also great advice for anyone involved in career coaching.
First, he says preparation is key. “Being able to tell stories with information – don’t just go in with your resume and think you’re going to pick up everything you’ve done on a whim. Practice talking about your experiences with a friend.” Remember that while some lucky, lucky people make it look 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 demonstrate the value you’ve brought to your previous positions. “Find the data points and write down 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 result?”
Ultimately, career dampening is about understanding that your current job isn’t going to last forever. The days of spending your entire career at the same company are long gone, so why not get ahead of the curve by planning things to change?
Now I’m curious: are you doing anything to soften your career or are you preparing for a recession? Tell me in the comments!