Recession proof means hoping for the best but planning for the worst.
Most important points
- By making yourself an invaluable asset at work, you are less likely to get a pink slip.
- Networking may not come naturally to you, but it can make all the difference.
- Some jobs are more recession-proof than others.
If you go through enough economic cycles, you are likely to be hit with job losses. If not, someone close to you has been fired. You take out life insurance and you cover the plants if there is a frost warning. You prepare for all the things that can go wrong. Why not prepare by recession-proofing your finances, starting with your job?
1. Stand out
Layoffs often follow a recession. It’s not always the case, but if your company is going through budget cuts, you’ll want to be someone who has become an integral part of upper management. That means moving on and taking on tasks that fall outside your job description. It means working well with others, building rapport up and down the corporate ladder, and accepting difficult jobs as they come your way. The more versatile you are, the easier it is for management to envision you taking on more than one position in the company.
2. Polish your profile
Like it or not, branding is a way of life. How you present yourself is important. If you haven’t done it lately, wipe your resume and update it. Mention any new skills you’ve picked up, as well as major achievements in your career.
Make sure you’re in control of how the world sees you by managing your online presence. If you have a Facebook post that shows you with a beer in one hand and fireworks in the other, you may want to delete it. Employers do and will check social media.
A good way to get started is to Google yourself to find out what comes up. You might be surprised by the photos and old posts that come up in a search. Remove anything embarrassing or unprofessional.
3. Network, network, network
Even if you’re unbearably shy, you can push yourself out of your comfort zone by reaching out to old colleagues and introducing yourself on places like LinkedIn. If there is a company you would like to work for in the future, please contact them and let them know. It can be as simple as sending a message via LinkedIn to the director of human resources or the president of the company.
The note doesn’t have to be long or fancy. Just let them know what you appreciate about their operation and send your regards. Kindness can go a long way in building a reputation.
Stay involved. The last thing you might want to do after a hard day’s work is go to a professional meeting or community organization, but networking is essential. Not only is it good for your emotional well-being, but it can also help you keep your current job or hold onto your next job with less effort.
4. Find recession-proof positions
If you are not happy with your current job and have been thinking about making a change, why not look for a job that is usually safe during recessions? While no position is guaranteed, there are some fields that are more resilient to the gale force winds of economic turmoil than others. Here are some examples:
- Healthcare: Virtually every healthcare job — from healthcare administrator to licensed nursing assistant — remains in high demand during a recession.
- Education: K-12 and higher education positions aren’t going anywhere. Even if one school closes, the need for teachers is great.
- Law: Whether you’re an attorney, clerk, or paralegal, the law is typically one of the safer areas during a recession.
- Grocery Stores: People will always need food and supermarkets will always need workers. This includes stock keepers, clerks, managers and delivery drivers.
- Public Safety: There will always be a need for corrections officers, security guards, firefighters, emergency medical services and police officers.
- Utility workers: The utility company employs everyone from wastewater engineers to power linemen, and each position is vital to keeping the power grid up and running.
- Trade: No matter what happens to the economy, homes and businesses will always hire professionals such as plumbers, carpenters, pipe fitters, electricians and mechanics.
- Mental health: If COVID-19 has shown us anything, it’s how valuable mental health professionals are in times of need. Therapists, social workers, school counselors, and substance abuse counselors are invaluable.
Because we know that recessions are a normal part of the economic cycle, we also know that it is wise to plan ahead. After all, you don’t want to empty your savings account before the economy picks up again.
Think of it as hedging your bets. It’s possible that your job will be completely secure during the next recession, but if not, you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way.
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