Seven Ways to Future-proof Your Career and Snag a New Job Simultaneously

Debra Feldman '72NRS, '74PH
May 01, 2020

This economic shutdown and stay at home lockdown have challenged both active job searchers and everyone who has not been terminated or furloughed. Individuals should not count on keeping their job because no one knows what the future holds. Even those who are actively contributing and fulfilling their responsibilities today cannot forecast what’s coming next.

This is not a time to be stuck

It’s a wake-up nudge, the chance to take control of your own career. One thing this experience has demonstrated is the importance of having inventory. If you cannot run to the grocery store or if the grocery store runs out, you’ve been grateful for a stocked pantry and extra paper goods. If you agree that taking a proactive, thoughtful approach is smart, you must adopt these networking tips immediately.

Do not depend on your company to recognize you or headhunters to tag you for a promotion or the perfect offer.

Do not wait for the ax to fall to start thinking about your next move and initiating the right moves like establishing your focus, identifying hiring authorities, and selecting the best networking connections to advance your progress towards new job leads. Be proactive.

Plan don’t pray.

If you don’t have the right network, develop it. Substitute the time you were commuting, traveling, and other currently fewer intensive tasks for assessing and advancing your career. Forget having job security now or in the future. Every job is temporary. Jobs are just pauses between a lifelong series of transitions. Some career changes will be desired and planned, others will be out of your control, unwelcome, and inconvenient. Take on a new perspective.

Respect your network and guard it, continually update it, like it’s “career insurance.” What is career insurance? It’s back-up resources, access to potential new opportunities, not a guarantee but a springboard from which to launch a new job search, which is organized for maximum effectiveness and powered for efficient delivery.


1.    Show up. You've got to be in the game to win. Do you know what it means if you are waiting for a better time? You are begging your competition to take advantage of a situation you handed them on a silver platter. 

2.   Pause. Plan. Play. Identify your job search objectives, determine where you have the greatest potential to attract an employer’s interest, identify who is the hiring authority for the role you want.

3.   Start networking purposefully. Create a target contact list of hiring decision-makers and people whom they know.

4.    Begin connecting, not job hunting. Start with people you know who are on your target contact list, #3 above. Expand to contacts they recommend and refer you to. Always best to be a friend of a friend, that engenders trust.

5.    Do not waste a single first degree or referral-sourced connection. Be ready with an enticing, intriguing message which clearly and compellingly communicates a solid reason for the contact to listen and want to know more. Offer a value proposition that’ addresses their needs, appeals to their emotions, and is authentic to grab attention, build credibility, and promote further exploration.

6.    Be polite, patient, and persistent. Nothing good comes easy. This is a marathon and not a sprint. You can be more in control when you manage your own attitude and behavior.

7.   Empathy will take you further than acting hastily. One of the surest ways to turn someone off is to ignore their words and feelings. While you may have a sense of urgency to enlist their help, chances are their priorities are elsewhere.

A version of this article originally appeared on JobWhiz. Image courtesy of Debra Feldman.

Debra Feldman '72NRS, '74PH is the JobWhiz, Executive Talent Agent. She is hired by individuals, not employers. Uniquely in the careers field, she identifies unadvertised career opportunities or hidden jobs which match the job seeker’s requirements and schedules exploratory meetings exclusively with hiring authorities, never recruiters. Her live introductions promote trusting, collegial long-term relationships. To learn more visit, submit a contact request or email [email protected] for a private phone appointment.

Learn more about Feldman and view the full Columbia Career Coaches Network.