Worried About a Recession? 4 Ways to Make Sure You Always Have a Job

Worried About a Recession? 4 Ways to Make Sure You Always Have a Job

A woman working on her laptop by a window in her home.

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Recession-proofing means hoping for the best but planning for the worst.

Key points

  • Making yourself invaluable on the job could make you less likely to receive a pink slip.
  • Networking may not come naturally to you, but can make all the difference. 
  • Some jobs are more recession-proof than others.  

Live through enough economic cycles, and you’re likely to be hit by job loss. If not you, then someone close to you has been laid off. You buy life insurance and you cover the plants when there’s a freeze warning. You prepare for all the things that can go wrong. Why not prepare by recession-proofing your finances, beginning with your job? 

1. Stand out

When a recession occurs, layoffs often follow. It’s not always the case, but if cutbacks hit your company, you want to be someone upper management cannot imagine doing without. That means going above and beyond, taking on tasks outside your job description. It means working well with others, building rapport up and down the corporate ladder, and accepting tough jobs when they come your way. The more versatile you are, the easier it is for management to imagine you tackling more than one position in the company.

2. Polish your profile

Love it or hate it, branding is a way of life. How you present yourself matters. If you haven’t done it recently, brush off your resume and update it. Include any new skills you’ve picked up as well as major accomplishments 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 showing you with a beer in one hand and fireworks in the other, you may want to take it down. Employers do and will check out social media.

A good way to get started is to Google yourself to find out what comes up. You may be surprised by the photos and old posts that make their way into a search. Delete anything embarrassing or unprofessional.

3. Network, network, network

Even if you’re unbearably shy, push yourself out of your comfort zone by reaching out to old work colleagues and making introductions on places like LinkedIn. If there’s a company you wouldn’t mind working for in the future, reach out to them and let them know. It can be as simple as sending a note through LinkedIn to the director of human resources or the president of the company.

The note doesn’t need to be long or fancy. Simply let them know what you appreciate about their operation and send your regards. Kindness can go a long way toward helping you build a reputation.

Most of all, stay engaged. The last thing you may want to do after a hard day at work is to attend a professional gathering or civic organization, but networking is vital. Not only is it good for your emotional well-being, but it can help you keep your current job or snag your next position with less effort.

4. Seek recession-proof positions

If you’re not thrilled with your current job and have thought about making a change, why not look for a job that tends to be secure during recessions? While no position is guaranteed, there are some fields that withstand the battering winds of economic upheaval better than others. Here are some examples:

  • Health care: Pretty much every job in health care — from health care administrator to certified nursing assistant — remains in high demand during a recession.
  • Education: K-12 and higher education positions are not going anywhere. Even if one school closes, the need for educators is great.
  • Law: Whether you’re an attorney, court clerk, or trained as a paralegal, the law is typically one of the safer fields during a recession.
  • Grocery stores: People are always going to need food, and grocery stores are always going to need workers. This includes stockers, clerks, managers, and delivery drivers.
  • Public safety: There will always be a need for correction officers, security guards, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and police officers.
  • Utility workers: The utility field employs everyone from wastewater engineers to power linemen, and each position is vital to keeping the grid up and running.
  • Trades: No matter what’s going on with the economy, homes and businesses are always going to hire professionals like plumbers, carpenters, pipefitters, electricians, and mechanics.
  • Mental health: If COVID-19 showed us anything, it’s how valuable mental health professionals are in times of trouble. Therapists, social workers, school counselors, and substance abuse counselors are invaluable.

Since we know that recessions are a normal part of the economic cycle, we also know there’s wisdom in planning ahead. After all, you don’t want to empty your savings account before the economy has a chance to recover. 

Think of it as hedging your bets. It’s possible that your job will be totally secure throughout the next recession but if it’s not, you’re ready for whatever comes your way. 

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