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Building a Career During a Recession
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A complete guide to recession proof jobs, recession proof industries and alternative options to build your career during a recession.
+Bonus! 30 Places to Find Full-Time, Part-Time, Contract, Consulting, and/or Freelance Jobs to Grow Your Resume and Career During a Recession.
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I want to go over 7 tips to find work and build a career during a recession.
We’ll go through:
- Recession proof jobs
- How to make your career more recession proof
- Some opportunities to consider during a recession if you are struggling to find a new job because of the economy being in the gutter
So, let’s get started!
Prepare for Economic Meltdown
A major recession happens roughly every 8-10 years and it’s been 11 years now since the Great Recession of 2007 – 2009.
For some, the economy is on the edge of a recession right now…
Yet, you and I don’t have much control over what the economy does by ourselves.
All we can do is prepare and know what to do if we are impacted.
Here are 7 tips to find recession proof jobs and make your career recession proof to make it easier for you to build a career, even during a rough economic situation.
#1: Focus on Jobs You 100% Qualify For
The #1 tip is to focus your job search during a recession on the jobs you know you can obtain with your current qualifications. The more you qualify for a position, the higher the chances are you will be hired.
People who are hired when the economy is good, but aren’t fully qualified or capable of doing the job are not in recession proof jobs. When the economy is good, companies don’t mind making a bit of a stretch on candidates that maybe don’t fit the job description 100%. Yet, if they aren’t performing they will be the first to go when the economy gets rough. By making sure you fully qualify and are 100% capable of doing the job, you will be more likely to land a recession proof job.
Take a hard look at your finances and know exactly what you need to earn to get by for a few years. Then, consider a new job that doesn’t necessarily pay more or what you expect, but that you could financially survive doing for a few years with the #1 goal being to grow your resume so when the economy turns around, you have the skills to get that job you’ve always wanted.
If you are thinking about a career change and finding a job is voluntary, then focus on finding a job that is maybe parallel to what you have been doing in your career up-until today. Jobs where you can easily utilize your current knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences are less of a risk for hiring managers during a time with rough economic conditions. This will also help you to spread your wings a little bit to fulfill that desire to grow your experiences and your resume for when the recession starts to ease up and it’s a more logical time to make a bigger move into a completely new career.
#2: Focus on Growth Industries
When it comes to recessions, there are many industries that don’t feel nearly as much, if any, pain as the many others we hear about on the news. Actually, there are many that continue to grow!
If you are searching for a job during a bad economy situation, like a recession, knowing the recession proof industries which aren’t impacted or continue to grow is like having a cheat sheet on an exam.
Some recession proof industries include energy, health care, and even the death care industry. If you are new to the term, “death care industry” refers to companies and organizations hat provide services related to death: such as funerals, cremation or burials, and memorials.
#3: Double Down on Your Network
If you are reading this before the recession has started, then you still have time to double down on building your network with a focus on making strategic connections that could help you get a job, if needed, during the recession.
If the recession has already started, you have a different game to play. During the recession, you should focus on doubling down on rekindling relationships that have the highest potential of leading to a new opportunity. I would not suggest cold-messaging people you haven’t talked to in six months to ask if they know of an opportunity. This is almost always never a good approach.
Simply start messaging them to catch up or see if they want to grab coffee to talk. You could lead it into your own careers over coffee discussion. When the time feels right, ask the question if they know of any opportunities or anyone you could connect with who might know of an opportunity out there.
#4: Overhaul Your Personal Brand
In each episode so far on this podcast, I’ve emphasized the importance of having a solid internet and LinkedIn personal brand.
The one thing you have when it comes to finding a job is your personal brand, as this includes your education, work experience, certifications, accomplishments, personality, work ethic, communication skills. A personal brand includes all the tangibles and in-tangibles that make you, you compared to the other candidates.
Creating mediums that clearly communicate your personal brand is one of the most important things you can do. This should at least include an awesome resume and LinkedIn profile, but I also recommend having a personal website portfolio.
Here are some resources to help you do this:
- I have downloadable resume templates you can get free by clicking here, the exact ones I’ve use to get the jobs at Harley-Davidson and Apple.
- I have a course called 10 Days to Build a Better LinkedIn Profile Course that can get you started with overhauling your resume and optimizing your LinkedIn profile with your personal brand.
As I mentioned before, everyone should have a personal website moving forward, as the internet is here to stay and it will become an increasingly important asset to have to communicate your personal brand, especially when trying to find a job during a recession and build a career.
If you don’t have a personal website yet and you are interested potentially having me help you out with this, please fill out this contact form and send me a message, so we can discuss how I can help you out with building you a personal website, as building websites (such as this one you are looking at right now) is a passion of mine. I’d be glad to see how I can help you out.
#5: Consider Contract Positions
When the economy is in the gutter, many companies need to lay off employees, with most issuing a hiring freeze – meaning they are not hiring for any new positions across the board. At the same time, companies are also taking a hard look at their overall company strategy.
Many companies can only handle having their hand still in the fire for so long before they need to start moving to stop the burn…
To do this, most companies often cancel projects, drop entire product lines, and close under-performing locations and business sectors, amongst many other things. Yet, when one door closes another one is opening. Companies tend to begin transitions into new emerging trends.
Take Harley-Davidson for example; for years they had the same types of motorcycles. It wasn’t until after the 2008 recession when sales for their style of motorcycle started to plummet that they decided to start making some changes.
First, it was the electric motorcycle that came out sometime around 2015 as a prototype and the 2019 Harley-Davidson Livewire motorcycle was debuted at the 2019 Consumer Electronic Show. Then, they released a line of more urban style motorcycles geared toward younger people like us, who don’t want the same old, gaudy looking motorcycles our dad or grandpa drove. Now, just this year Harley-Davidson’s Electric Scooter prototype and Harley-Davidson Mountain/Trail Bike were shown off at the Consumer Electric Show in Las Vegas, too.
It’s changes like these where companies need to add new people to their team to begin making the shift. Most of the time, they don’t have all the people already within the company who are experts in specific fields that are required to make this happen – from finance and supply chain to work with new vendors in a completely new industry, down to finance handling deals that may be new to the company – like licensing or partnerships.
For them to get by while the economy is still rough without taking on the risk and burden of a full-time employee, companies will go out and hire all the people they may need on contract. As the economy begins to rebound, most of the time these contract positions turn into full-time positions if the projects begin to materialize beyond the concept and prototype stage.
Considering a contract position not only opens you up to working on the latest and greatest in your field with some amazing companies, but it may also just lead to a full-time position down the road.
#6: Consider Consulting
Similar to contracting, many consultants see a flood of work come their way when the economy starts to get rough. Companies being looking for outside council on a wide variety of issues, situations, and topics. Depending on your skill-set, consulting may be the way to go.
Some in-demand consulting positions during a recession include:
- Marketing – especially companies looking to increase their conversion rates, while reducing their overall spend.
- Logistics and Supply Chain – companies tend to begin looking for ways to optimize the flow of their goods from manufacturer to customer, looking to reduce waste within the supply chain that is costing them a significant amount of money.
- Tech-Related Positions – from programming to hardware IT, those in professions or with experience in a field related to the various tech companies out there can find many consulting opportunities for these companies looking to branch out into new projects to fight off the slow burn of the economy.
- Investing – If you have a history of earning money in an economy that is slipping, you won’t be short of work!
- Tax Accounting/Law – When the economy is tough, most people cringe at the thought of paying the government their hard earned money… from a personal or commercial standpoint, many are looking to find ways to reduce their tax liability.
These are just a few, but again there are many more.
#7: Fill Free-Time with Freelancing
For more service related jobs or if you are just looking to make some side money beyond your normal day-job to ease the pain from the economy, freelancing is a valid option. From writing to sourcing products, to managing teams of employees handling outsourced work in the Philippines, the opportunities in freelancing seem endless.