Any time the economy looks shaky, people start to worry about their jobs. A shrinking economy can lead to layoffs across multiple industries, and it’s hard to tell in advance what the future might hold. Regardless of the economic climate, you’ll sleep better at night if you know you are prepared for a recession. Here are a few things you can do to be sure your career is recession ready.
Invest in Yourself
Much corporate advice focuses on your relationship with your employer. Are you a team player? Are you giving 110% at all times? Do you have a positive attitude? Those things are great, but it’s also important to remember you and your employer stay together because you are useful to each other. You provide services they need, and they pay you the money you need. If your usefulness to them runs out, or if they can’t afford your paycheck, they will have to lay you off, no matter how much they like you.
Because of this, it’s vital to invest not only in your company, but in yourself. Companies come and go, but your skills are the asset you will use to support yourself throughout your working years. So how does your skillset look right now? Are there skills you could learn to increase your value on the job market? If you have a chance to learn more skills on the job, take it. The same goes for job titles, like assistant manager, you can put on your next résumé.
Remember to take a look at your retirement accounts as well. If your portfolio has a large amount of company stock because you received restricted stock units or stock options, you may want to diversify. Talk to your advisor about whether your retirement funds are sufficiently balanced.
Keep your eyes open for news about your company, your industry, and the economy as a whole. If your company is doing badly, you could move to one that is doing better. If your whole industry is doing badly, you might do better to stay where you are, at least until you have the skills to change industries. And if the whole economy is down—well, at that point, your best bet is to make sure your emergency fund is topped up.
LinkedIn is a good place to keep track of career trends. By staying active there even when you’re not actively searching for a job, you can get a sense of who is hiring and which careers are in highest demand, even during a recession. You can also network with other people in your industry, which may lead to hearing about new job openings first.
This awareness can inform your career backup plan. When you know which companies in your industry are the most stable, you have a better sense of where you might apply if something happened to your job.
Update Your Résumé
If you’ve been in the same job for a while, your résumé is out of date. Take it out and give it a polish, adding your achievements at your current job. Make sure it is organized well and highlights your top skills.
Think, as you work on it, what jobs you might apply to next. Will you make a lateral move, looking for a similar job to the one you have? Or would you like to try for something a step up? If your whole industry is struggling, it’s good to consider what industries might use similar skills. Try to spell out your skills explicitly and ask yourself where else they might be valuable. For instance, if you’re a journalist, you know how to write. What other industries need writers? You might write marketing material, technical material, or web content instead.
If your résumé looks bare, consider upskilling. This is when you learn additional skills, either at work or on your own time. There are many skills you can pick up at work by volunteering for tasks you don’t usually do. Or you can take an evening class or do self-paced study online.
You Can Handle a Recession
If a recession does come, you can handle it by being prepared. By staying flexible, you will hopefully stay employed. And if you do have to be unemployed for a while, you have your emergency fund to fall back on.
If your career isn’t adequately prepared for a recession, it’s time to start thinking about how you can build a more solid foundation. Talk to your financial advisor about your emergency plan. To meet an experienced advisor, contact us today.