When I graduated college in late 2008, the job market was in shambles. The Great Recession had just hit, and entry level jobs were being filled by individuals with decades of experience who had lost their job due to the downturn. I was lucky to get accepted to Americorps, where I could serve nonprofits across the country, gain some valuable experience and bide my time until the economy recovered. But I saw the struggles of my friends and family, who lost jobs & struggled to make ends meet. It’s impossible to prepare for all the potential effects of a recession, but below are four steps that can put you in the best position to confront a downturn and potential job loss.
Steps to Recession-Proof Your Career
- Establish multiple sources of income-You may have heard that it’s key to diversify your investment portfolio, and the same concept applies to your income. Your risk goes down as the number of income streams goes up. If you lose your primary source of income, ideally you could maintain for a period of time with your savings and other income sources while you job hunt. Luckily, it is easier than ever to find a side hustle. Some common/easily accessible options include:
- Build or maintain healthy credit-More and more often, employers are checking your credit to qualify you for a job. When jobs are in high demand, this could be the deciding factor between two quality candidates. Build or maintain your credit now so this isn’t a stressor for you in case of a recession.
- Keep your resume up to date- Set a date with your resume every three months. It’s easy to forget accomplishments, community engagement or accolades if you don’t add them there on a regular basis. Try using Canva to liven it up and help it stand out. Share it with friends for feedback (if you have any who work in HR—ask them first—and be sure to buy them a drink/coffee for their generosity). Having your resume up to date and ready to go will keep you from panic editing later.
- Expand your network- Often, it’s not about what you know but who you know. This can be especially true when the economy slows down, and job opportunities are at a premium. By cultivating a strong professional community, you put yourself in a better position to easily find a new job if you are laid off. The key to a strong community, is giving and connecting. Use your skills to help wherever you can and be a connector between others. The more good your do for others, the more will come back to you when you need it.
These four steps can recession-proof your career. The key is preparing now so you ensure a healthy future. If you want to focus on your credit and don’t know where to start, check out our Credit Health Education Session.