Life has felt uncertain for a while, and let’s face it, we are all a little anxious about the future. With words like “pandemic” and “economic crisis” circulating around us daily, the natural next thought is recession. Recession may sound like a scary time to be starting, or continuing a job search, but what does a recession specifically mean for job seekers? Can you still find a job during an economic downturn?
Don’t lose hope. There are ways to get hired during a recession, you may just need to restructure your search, and find ways to market yourself to new industries. But are companies hiring when times are tough? Absolutely—hiring still takes place even in down times. And new norms can emphasize the importance of a company’s solution, causing growth in certain sectors.
“The key to landing a job during a recession is to focus on what you can control as a job seeker, and to put yourself out there in as good a light as possible,” says Brie Reynolds, FlexJobs’ career development manager and coach.
We’ve put together some of our top tips for finding a job during a recession. Hopefully, they will give you some motivation and a positive outlook towards your job search!
Note: FlexJobs is a subscription service for job seekers that features flexible and remote jobs. With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, the monthly subscription costs allow us to fully vet and verify all of the jobs on our site—ensuring that customers have a safe and positive job searching experience. Right now, we’ve dropped our prices as low as 50% on new memberships. Use the code JOBS at checkout.
Be Patient with Your Job Search
Competition increases when there are fewer opportunities, so the hiring process may take a longer time than usual, and searching for a job during a recession means you’ll need to be as good a job seeker as possible to stand out.
Over time, experts have estimated it would take roughly one month to find a job for every $10,000 of the paycheck you would like to earn. So, in theory, if you were looking to earn $60,000 a year, your job search could take six months. This is, of course, a very rough estimate and there are a number of things that you control in this process:
- Being flexible in terms of job preferences (those exclusively seeking a type of job which is hard to land will likely have a longer job search)
- The credentials of the job seeker, and leveling up to gain new skills and qualifications
- The amount of time and energy devoted to the job search
- The quality of job search materials, including the resume and cover letters
- The quality of job search strategy, including the level of networking activity
Understanding that there are real people on the other side of the computer, and applying with them in mind, may help you navigate your anxiety while trying to find the next right job. Try to stay confident in your skills and take steps to make your communication stand out in the crowd.
Expand Your Options and Move Beyond Limits
Staying open to industries and positions you normally wouldn’t navigate towards may be the key to finding a job during a recession. Consider freelance, part time, temporary and short term assignments. These are often the door you need to get through to develop relationships and perhaps grow your gig into a larger position, or full time job. Some people even find two part-time jobs, which may help to balance out their financial and mental wellness.
Overall, be flexible with your options to open up more opportunities and remember that your next job will likely not be your last job. It’s okay to take a job now, knowing that you’ll likely want to find something else down the line.
Revamp Your Resume, or Create a New One Altogether
Focus on the industry needs and call attention to your experiences within those arenas. For instance, include any skills that will help you transition into the fields that are hiring during a down cycle and include any keywords that are highlighted in the job description.
When applying for remote jobs, also be sure to put any of your previous remote work experience or skills on your resume.
Educate Yourself and Grow Your Skills
Perhaps you are entering a new field, or just want to beef up your resume. Take some online classes in a new program, or certification.
Look at job descriptions and see what companies are looking for, gain the skills and knowledge needed to land your next, great job and add those skills to your resume. If you’re currently in the process of completing a course or certification, you should note that on your resume, too.
Being proactive is a wonderful way to stand out in the resume pool, plus those keywords in your resume may help you get in front of a hiring manager.
Connect with Companies You Already Admire
We’d all like to work for a company we admire so even if a company you love doesn’t have a job posting right now, that doesn’t mean they aren’t restructuring and possibly looking for new talent.
Reaching out before they post gives you a leg up on the competition, plus it shows them you are proactive and won’t wait for things to happen. Here are some sample prospecting outreach emails to send to employers (PDF).
Reconnect with Former Colleagues and Connections
More so than during normal times, job hunting during a recession will require you to reference your current and past network to find out where people are working now, and if opening are available. Reach out to see if these businesses are hiring, and connect with old co-workers to see if they know about upcoming hiring possibilities, or discover how they transitioned into a new field. Furthermore, be open to informational interviews. Not every contact is going to have a job for you, but if you can constructively (and genuinely) reconnect, it will have long-term benefits.
You can also ask your friends, family, neighbors, and professional network how they found their last job, what resources and tactics worked well for them, and what advice they’d have for you. Check out our full resource section on networking for more specific tips and tools.
Follow Industry Trends Closely
You need to do your homework in order stand out from other applicants, especially when trying to find a job during a recession. Take some time to subscribe to a newsletter for top sources in the field you are trying to get into. Gaining some knowledge will help when you are crafting your cover letter, or answering questions in an interview.
It’s important to keep a pulse on what is happening, who is hiring, and where a specific industry will see growth in the near future. Plus, knowledge is power, and it will most effectively build your confidence during your job search.
During a recession there will be layoffs and furloughs, as well as firings, but there are industries that will continue to grow. During the 2008 recession, industries that grew included career fields like:
Right now, we’re seeing companies hiring now in these same career fields and industries, as well as others.
Also, even companies where layoffs have occurred often continue to have vacancies based on other areas of business growth, personal leave, career and life changes, and retirement.
And Lastly, Send Thank You Notes
In this especially trying time, a little kindness goes a long way. Send a personal email message to express your gratitude to the hiring manager, and always send a thank you note after an interview.
These are the small details that show what kind of employee you will be, and you may just make someone’s day.
Finding a Job During a Recession
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, even when it seems dim. Hang in there and know that FlexJobs is here to help you. Learn more about our resume services and career coaching, or take a look at our full library of career resources for during COVID-19 and beyond.
And, if you’re ready to find your next job, we offer flexible and remote positions in more than 50 career fields. We’ve dropped our prices as low as 50% on new memberships. Use the code JOBS at checkout.
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Stephanie Graney is the Partnerships Manager for the award-winning site FlexJobs. She has worked remotely since 2007 after her first baby was born. With a background in advertising and writing, she enjoys the benefits of working from home while raising…Read More >
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