Backup career planning

To create a career backup plan, you need to have a clear picture of your future goals. | Freepik

To create a career backup plan, you need to have a clear picture of your future goals. | Freepik

Published Feb 7, 2024



With technology changing the workplace at a rapid pace, many workers are facing precarious times.

To avoid being blindsided, it’s important to have a career backup plan that could help you stay afloat should the unforeseen happen.

Here are four tips to ensure you aren’t caught off guard:

Build your network

“Getting a new job offer can happen far quicker if you’ve built a strong network,” says Richard Walker, CEO of York Solutions.

“When executives ask for my help to get their next job, the first question I ask them is, ‘How strong is your network outside of the four walls where you work?’ - and 99% of the time, it’s weak. They haven’t taken the time to invest in themselves outside of where they work.

“If you don’t overcome the thought that you’re bothering people, it’s going to take you a lot longer to land your next job.

“The best time to network is when you don’t need to. Don’t wait for the hammer to drop, when you’re out on your backside looking for a new role and sending your CVs into black hole systems. If you have that network already established, it accelerates your ability to land your next position.”

Updated CV

Make sure to update your skills and work duration on your CV. Remove important personal details, and keep a clear formatted design and layout. If you haven’t updated your CV since you landed your current job, now is the time to incorporate those details. Include any promotions, title changes, achievements, and awards you have earned during your tenure. Also review the rest of your CV and make any necessary edits to ensure it supports your current job goals.


To create a realistic backup plan, you need to understand what motivates you and what drives your career goals and passions. It could be a specific kind of company or work culture; love for a particular area of knowledge or practice and the desire to become an expert in that field; or you could be motivated by a social cause. Understanding what matters most to you in your career is vital.

Future vision

“Whether you’re creating Plan A or Plan B, make sure to reflect on the life you are trying to build and where you want to be five or 10 years from now,” says André Martin, organisational psychologist and author. He suggests envisioning a number of potential prototypes that are small steps to the left or right of your current career choice.

“By looking at three to five alternatives to your current job at the same time, you can examine which of them will allow you the best chance of continued forward momentum.

“Reverse engineering your life based on how you want it to look at some point in the future is a vital step that will move in the right direction; instead of creating a detour away from the life you want,” he adds.