Lately, the news has many people tightening their wallets.
Plenty of experts have predicted a recession is on the horizon, and as we all know, a recession signals job loss. In fact, major companies like the Walt Disney Company, Twitter and Lyft have either announced layoffs or begun the process of cutting jobs ahead of the looming economic downturn.
It can be alarming to consider what a recession means for you, especially because an unexpected job loss is one of the most traumatic experiences you can go through. Plus, when the job market is limited, a layoff can be even more devastating.
There are steps you can take, however, to protect yourself for an impending recession.
If you’re concerned about job stability and what it might mean for your career path, we’ve rounded up seven tips to help you prepare for a recession.
Revamp Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile
Updating your resume takes time, and you won’t want to waste any if you have to unexpectedly embark on a new job hunt. Get ahead of this potential concern by updating your resume now — after all, you’ve undoubtedly learned more skills, taken on different responsibilities and reached new accomplishments since you last submitted job applications.
Add the experience you’ve gained to your resume as well as your LinkedIn profile. Consider polishing off your cover letter, too, even if they aren’t a necessity for many jobs these days. It’s also worth taking into account experts’ resume recommendations to ensure your documentation matches up to what today’s employers are expecting.
Having these papers in order will make it much simpler to begin a job hunt. You can even start looking at options and sending off resumes before layoffs hit if you’re really concerned about job stability.
Network as Much as You Can
One of the best things you can do for your career? Network. It’s those connections you make with other people that will help launch you into the next phase of your career.
Your network comprises of people you know from work, school or your extended professional circle. Now is a good time to reaffirm those connections by reaching out.
You can open the conversation by just checking in, sharing an interesting article you’ve read lately or even outright asking for advice. Remember: strengthening your network can be beneficial for both you and them, and most people are happy to connect and provide any assistance they can.
It’s also a great time to expand your existing circle. Attend events within your industry and make an effort to meet the other attendees. Take advantage of new contacts by looking at your possible LinkedIn connections within your own profile. You never know who you’ll meet, and that person could help you in the future.
“Networking is a critical step in securing your next career opportunity. So, leverage all the resources. You can make this happen,” Lori Shreve Blake, senior director of career engagement at the USC Career Center, told USC Online in a recent interview.
Look Into Possible Resources
Of course, you don’t have to do all the job hunting by yourself. If you want to kick off the search for your next position, look at what resources you have available to aid you in the process.
“[USC students and alumni] can use the support of the USC Career Center, for example. Seeking out the guidance of an expert career coach can help you move quickly into the next opportunity, resulting in receiving multiple offers,” Shreve Blake said.
There are also resources available for people who have recently lost their jobs. Check up on what government or community programs you have access to, which can help you with career counseling, networking and more. The more knowledge you have, the better prepared you’ll be for any job shifts.
Focus on Learning a New Skill…
Now is the perfect time to gain a new skill, whether it’s one that enables you to move into another field entirely, one that makes you a more desirable candidate in your current industry or one that solidifies you as a valuable member of your workplace.
There are all kinds of classes and certificates out there to help you learn everything from coding to Photoshop to social media management.
Your current job or the school you attend may also have sessions to teach you valuable new skills that you can add to your resume. Skill Up by USC Online, for example, offers all kinds of courses and free classes, including ones that focus on industry trends such as UX design and effective workplace management.
…But Don’t Forget Soft Skills, Either
Speaking of skills like workplace management, this is also the time to prioritize boosting your “soft” skill sets. While you can’t tangibly express soft skills the way you can demonstrate hard skills — such as your ability to use Photoshop — that doesn’t mean they’re not effective at boosting your attractiveness to employers.
Use your spare time to not only learn hard skills, but also soft skills. Being a successful communicator, a strong leader or a creative ideas person are all qualities employers seek out. Practice these abilities and put them on your resume alongside “Google Analytics” and “Fluent Spanish.” They’re important, too, and they can make you stand out.
Consider Going Back to School
One of the best ways to learn a new skill? Going back to school.
The reality is the possibility of a layoff or a recession can be disheartening and have you reconsidering your current job or field. Do you actually want to stay in your current spot, or do you want to move to a different position at your workplace? Alternatively, do you want to move to another organization or industry altogether? This is a good time to take stock of where you are at professionally and where you want to go next.
If you do want to make a change, going back to school to retrain or gain the necessary skills or degree to move upward is always an option. USC, for instance, offers an array of flexible online graduate programs so you can effectively juggle work and classes at the same time.
Above All Else, Keep Calm and Be Kind to Yourself
A recession does not necessarily signify the end of your time at your current workplace. Yes, it can be dejecting, especially as more and more layoffs are reported in the news, but there is no way to predict the future or how a recession will impact your life.
If you’re feeling anxious, take a deep breath. It’s natural to be concerned, but focus on what you actually can control and the steps you can take to be prepared for any eventuality. Then, relax and take care of yourself. Talk with friends, set aside time for guilty pleasures and don’t add unnecessary anxiety to your plate.
Overall, it’s most important to prioritize your general health and well-being during stressful times. That way, you’ll be well-equipped to handle any setbacks.
Recessions do happen, but they don’t last forever, and people ultimately make it through. Plan for the worst, but remember to stay positive: There’s always a way to change your circumstances for the better.