9 Ways To Recession-Proof Your Career

How do you plan your career during a pandemic and increase your chances of recession-proofing your employment prospects? Particularly when new variables are being introduced to our lives regularly and there is much uncertainty looming ahead? Recessions are often characterised by; fewer vacancies, aggressive competition on the job market, being forced to take survival jobs, retrenchments, job insecurity, and staying in a job you dislike due to fear or difficulty of moving.

Here are 9 recession-proof career tips that can help you to move forward.

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1. Be proactive, do not be a passive passenger when it comes to your career plan during and post #Covid19. Instead of playing a “wait and see” game, evaluate possible employment scenarios that can happen to you? What’s your plan for each scenario and what can you put in place today, to deal with it?

2. Make yourself indispensable, if you’re employed. What are your employer’s priorities right now and how much value are you contributing to those key priorities. The more value you add to the bottom line, the stronger your positioning. Be known as a problem solver, particularly in “mission-critical” areas.

3. Be useful for more than one area. If your entire department is going to be affected in a retrenchment, are you positioned to be relevant for another department? Versatile employees who can wear multiple hats have a competitive advantage. 

4. Go where the demand is. Find out what skills have spiked in demand within your industry due to #Covid19 and upgrade yourself. Hedge your bets and start considering skills in your field that are recession-proof right now. Even during difficult economic times, certain skills will always be required.

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5. Career planning during a pandemic is a team sport. Pull in your mentors, friends, trusted advisors to help guide you and brainstorm options.

6. Networking is non-negotiable, do not wait until you need a job to network. Networks provide information and access to opportunities, especially “in the hidden job market” (see my article on this topic here). Now is the time to connect with as many people as you can to build mutually beneficial relationships with. When networking, also offer to be useful to others so you do not seem like you are only in the relationship to be a “taker”.

7. Survival Jobs. Consider that you may have to take a survival job during this time as a means to earn income and stay afloat.

8. Look at industry risk. If you’re job hunting, try to focus your applications on industries that are less impacted and less “at-risk”, examples are Healthcare, Community and Social Services and Education. If your industry is at very high-risk e.g. Tourism and Travel, consider transferring your skills to less impacted sectors.

9. Develop resilience, turbulent economies impact our emotional well-being. The ability to be aware of your stressors and manage them will help you keep a positive and clear mind when you strategise and execute your career plans.