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3 Ways To Recession-Proof Your Career

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

With the impact of the pandemic still fresh in the mind of businesses, predictions of an impending recession are causing companies to quickly prepare for potential challenges ahead. From layoffs to hiring freezes, many employees are left on the edge of their seats wondering how the economy will affect their employment status. My recent LinkedIn polls showed that employees’s biggest concern right now is being laid off. Second to that, they are worried about competing with other job seekers; a very valid concern as layoffs only increase candidate pools, creating greater competition for the job postings that are active. While this is a good problem for the hiring managers who are seeking to fill those roles, it’s creating a battle royale among applicants.

Many job seekers are feeling frustrated about the volume of rejections they’re receiving, some of which are due to companies hiring from within for open roles. While this is a common practice for businesses, it’s another recession-proof tactic; and a smart one at that. Prioritizing internal applicants preserves employee retention, fosters career growth and development, speeds up the onboarding process, and avoids incurring net new costs to the business. Another LinkedIn poll showed that most job seekers have been actively seeking work for 2-6 months, on average. Throughout this time, they are applying to hundreds of roles, revising their resume more times than they can count, and waiting for their unemployment checks to come in (or nervously watching the calendar as the expiration date approaches). Their feelings of desperation, hopelessness, and frustration can be seen across their LinkedIn feeds, and it’s heartbreaking.

This begs the question, what can employees do to recession-proof their careers? From my experience as a candidate, hiring manager, and now a Career Coach, I’ve experienced the job market from various angles. Here are three steps that employees can take to be just as prepared for a potential recession as employers.

  1. Use this as an opportunity to get clear on your desired career path. We often get so caught up in the rat race of life that we don’t take time to reflect on what we truly want in our careers. It’s not until we’re put in a position where we’re forced to make important decisions that we do so, however sometimes at that point it’s a little too late. Making decisions or taking moments to reflect in a time when you’re feeling urgency to do so does not make for an effective and clear outcome. Think about whether or not you want to continue in the role that you currently have, or if you want to make a pivot. This will set you up for success if you find yourself back in the job market. You’ll have an understanding of what jobs you desire, and that will keep you focused and purposeful throughout your job search.

  2. Ensure that your resume aligns with your desired career path(s). You may find that there are a few paths that you’re interested in. Maybe that includes Sales, Customer Success, and Project Management. To prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed, keep your list down to 2-3 roles of interest. Then create a version of your resume for each of those roles.

  3. Network, network, network! You never know who might have your next job opportunity. Get active on LinkedIn, make new connections, ask for introductions into other networks, and proactively seek out advice.

The key here is preparation. Being sure about what you want in your career, having your resume(s) ready to go, and having a vast network that is prepared to support you will give you a leg up to those that are unprepared and scrambling. Preparation breeds confidence, and confidence is key when it comes to taking control of your career.

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