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  • Writer's pictureSarah Tian

5 Ways to Recession-Proof Your Career

With a recession on the horizon and news of large-scale layoffs, everyone is worried about when it will be their turn to lose their job.

So how can we ease our fears and get ready for a possible job loss?

The bad news is that you can't really protect your job from a recession unless you have one of those jobs that is truly recession-proof.

The good news is there are strategies to recession-proof your career, and ways to develop your career even when the economy is bad.

Here are some things you proactively do to "recession-proof" your career.

1. Be Vigilant and Know When It's Time To Run

💡 Evaluate the industry you're in

Recessions affects different industries differently. Identify what kind of industry you are in. Are you in an industry that tends to do well in a recession, like food and healthcare? Or do you work in an industry that tends suffer during recession like leisure and tourism?

If you know a recession is on the horizon, and you are in an recession-prone industry, maybe it's time to switch. If this is the case, look for similar jobs in a different industry as a starting point. It's a lot easier than trying to switch both roles and industries at the same time.

💡 Learn about how well your company is doing

Do you know how your company is performing overall? Is your company profitable or at least its trending towards profitability in the near future? Be sure to follow your company's financial results, as they are published so you are up to date with its financial health.

Is there sufficient demand for your companies' products and/or services? How competent and ethical are the leadership and management team? Are they leading the company in a positive direction?

If your company is losing money, with decreasing demand for its products/services and bad leadership team, those are pretty strong signals to consider switching companies.

2. Make Yourself Indispensable & Keep Adding Value

If you like your company and the industry you work in, or if you can't easily change your situation, your main goal during a layoff is to hang on.

Evaluate your current impact on your company. How important is your role to the success of the organization? Is what you are doing critical to the business? What can you do to make a bigger difference?

Look at the key objectives of your company and function you are in, and think of ways you can help reach those goals. Is there a new skill you could learn to perform better and more efficiently and create more value for the company? What are some ways you could help the company cut costs or increase revenue?

What are some high-demand but rare skills that you could learn to make yourself indispensable? Develop your knowledge and/or skills to the point where you are the best at what you do and one of the few people who can do something. This will make you more valuable to the company and make it much less likely that you will be let go during a cutback.

3. Act Like You're Always Looking For a Job

💡 Re-evaluate your career goals

Start by evaluating where you are in your career and where you want to be in 5 years? What's the job title you want to have in 5 years?

What are you willing to do if you get laid-off? What are some of the potential career paths you could pursue?

Asking yourself the above questions will help you figure out what you really want from your career and point you in the right direction.

Don't know what alternate career paths might be for you? Take the vocational interest assessment and check out the fastest growing jobs.

💡 Build your network

No matter where you are in your career, and how the external economy is doing, be sure to have a network of people you can rely on finding new opportunities when you need to.

Start by building internal networks. Have regular coffee chats and get to know your colleagues in similar fields on different teams, or in a field or even a different country that you want to get into in the future.

Go to professional events like meet-ups in your field to meet people from outside your organization. Attend national and international conferences to make your network even bigger.

💡 Regularly update your CV

Make it a habit of updating your resume after you complete a project and master a new skill at work. This way, you'll always be ready to look for a new job when the chance comes up.

You will also know exactly where you are in your career and what experiences and skills you have. You will be able to spot any gaps in your skills and know what you need to learn to move up in your career.

4. Upskill Yourself

What are some of your weaknesses or gaps in your knowledge? It could be technical skills like learning to use a new software, or soft skills like public speaking. What classes could you take to get better at what you do?

Is there a certification in your field worth pursuing to build credentials and advance to the next level? What are the most in-demand and cutting-edge skills in your field that you could learn to be more competitive?

It may be a good idea to get a more advanced degree. This could be an especially good choice to make during an economic downturn. After all, the higher your education, the less likely you will be unemployed.

5. Start a Business/Side-Gig

You can also think about starting your own business. Start by working on it in your spare time. Once it's up and running, then consider quitting your day job. Even if you only do it as a side job, you will learn a lot of useful skills like marketing, sales, finance, and customer service, which could help you at your main job.

Want to start a business, but don't know where to start? Check out 5 Places To Get Ideas For Starting Your Next Business.


Now that you know how to protect your career from a recession, I hope you feel less anxious and more confident about your ability to weather a potential lay-off.

No matter what the state of the economy is, in all honesty I believe that you should make all of the activities listed above a regular part of your career development routine. This will not only ensure your career is recession-proof, but will also ensure you will have a thriving career!


Additional Resources


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Choose 1 strategy mentioned in this article and take action on it this week!


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