Don't let a recession derail your career. Instead, be prepared.

If you've been in the workforce for a while, you have likely experienced, or at least heard of, companies laying off employees, initiating hiring freezes, or even closing down entirely — especially during a recession. This, in turn, leads to cyclical unemployment, which is the type of unemployment that is at the mercy of the market. It also means that professionals barely have a say when it comes to getting hired or avoiding getting laid off. But there are still ways to help yourself. 

For those currently searching for new employment opportunities, the job search will have numerous challenges. For those who are already employed, it is vital you take some important steps to help protect your current position and pay when a recession hits.

Consider these strategies to help you keep your job during a recession.

Be adaptable

To survive a recession and keep your job, you need to be able to adapt to any changes that might occur, like restructuring or new role responsibilities. You want to be seen as indispensable, so that means if you're asked to take on a different work schedule, shift job responsibilities, or let go of a project, be flexible and make it work.

You want to show off your versatility so that your managers know you can handle multiple responsibilities, especially if part of your team gets laid off. You should be seen as the go-to person to get things done.

Stand out

Sometimes, being good at your job isn't enough; you'll need to go above and beyond to really get noticed. Some ideas include taking initiative, building rapport, and being a team player.

It is important to not only complete your daily tasks, but also build relationships with co-workers and management, volunteering for extra projects, focusing on the bottom-line, accepting tough assignments, and helping your team are all surefire ways to get you noticed at work and position yourself as an invaluable resource. 

Enhance your skills

Now is also a good time to assess your skill set and identify any training or qualifications that can round out your professional profile. Certifications in different platforms or processes not only help you get ahead, but they also look great on a resume and make you more valuable in the eyes of your employer.

There are many resources available to help you build up your skill set, like Coursera and Khan Academy, that offer free online courses in a huge range of subjects. Just do a little digging into what you need and what will benefit you the most at this time. 

Also, besides your technical skills, make sure you are also working on your soft skills — especially communication. During a recession, you want to make sure you are on top of your communication with your bosses and co-workers so that you're easy to manage and don't cause more headaches for your company. 

Edit your resume — before you need it

Even if you do everything right, there's still a chance you will be laid off due to a recession. You need to have a backup plan in the chance that you're thrust into a new job search. That means updating your resume before you need it. 

Face it: If you are suddenly laid off from your job, wouldn't it be easier knowing your resume is already set to go? Instead of having that on your list of stress-inducing things on your to-do list, you can check it off immediately and start applying to new jobs. 

Also, if you start updating your resume before you are terminated, you will have access to all the facts, figures, and other quantifying evidence of your achievements in your role. These are vital to include on your resume if you want to stand out. And when a recession hits, you can expect the candidate pool to grow. 

When it comes to ensuring your job safety during a recession, making yourself known as an indispensable and valuable worker at your company is key. Yet, you should still continue to work on your skills and resume; you never know what can happen. 

Want to ensure your resume is ready if you find yourself in a new job search? Our expert writers can help. 

This article was updated in March 2020 by Danielle Elmers

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