When you are looking for a new job during a recession, unemployed or not, you need to become even more skilled at selling your expertise to improve your odds of getting hired. The recession job market leaves a lot to be desired and, unless you already have a very specific position in mind and know that the company in question is hiring, it is important to know what kinds of vacancies are being advertised in general before giving your current employer notice and handing in your resignation.
In a recession economy, it is not just the employment numbers that take a hit, it is also job quality. With fewer jobs available on the market, it becomes difficult to negotiate the same salary you had in your previous job when the recruiter knows that you don't have a number of other career options to explore. Even as the market begins to recover, it is usually the lower-wage jobs that are the first to see any significant employment growth after a recession.
Job security is another factor to consider, especially if you are thinking of quitting your job to pursue a new opportunity. Before you make the decision to leave your current employer, do a little research on both companies to see which one is more likely to make it out of the recession unscathed and thrive in the long run.
Unemployment in a recession
In an economic downturn, workers often take pay cuts as an alterative to unemployment, and competition for every job is tough. Finding a job in a recession, especially a good job, is difficult. However, it is not impossible if you know where to look for opportunities.
One way of finding employment is to look for contractor roles, as even businesses that are hiring in the recession are less likely to commit to a permanent employee when they can hire a contractor, who costs them less money, to do the same job. Sometimes companies will even fire full-time employees and replace them with contractors to cut costs.
Recession-proof jobs and how to find them
There are two types of employees who do not need to worry about losing their positions in a recession, at least not for as long as their company is still standing: the ones who make their employers money, and the ones who help the business save money. To improve your odds of getting invited to a job interview, your CV and cover letter need to show to the recruiter that you can do at least one of these things for the prospective employer's business, and also that you have a good record of doing it for your previous employers. Before you start sending applications left and right, consider what your most marketable skills are in this respect, and tailor your CV to reflect this, highlighting the results you have achieved in your previous jobs.
Do not waste your energy applying to every available position that is even marginally related to your field of expertise. Instead, write fewer but better targeted job applications. In an economic downturn, companies will usually only hire the people they really need. If your skills are not a match for the job requirements listed in the job advertisement, it is highly unlikely that the recruiter will want to meet with you and discuss the job. Save your energy for the positions that are a good fit for you.
Research industry data for recession growth industries
You may find your next job sooner if you focus your search on industry sectors that are experiencing growth despite the recession. Research the current hiring trends across the sectors to see which ones are still adding jobs. There are websites that provide monthly information on job growth by occupation, as well as those that provide a forecast on hiring trends in the near future. Find the ones that provide the stats for your country or region and take a good look at the info; you might find that your skills are transferable to one of these sectors. It would be a lost opportunity not to explore your options in recession-proof industries. Once you have identified the opportunities, think about how the companies that are still hiring could benefit from your skills: how you could help these businesses make money or cut costs.
Do not miss out on any opportunities. Research all the application channels available to you, from job boards and recruitment agencies to the unemployment office. Ask your friends and business contacts if they know of any positions in your field. If you are interested in working for a particular firm, see if there are any open vacancies on their website. Do not hesitate to cold call the company's recruiters or hiring managers and inquire about any career opportunities in the near future. Let the recruiters know how the company could benefit from hiring you.
The job interview
Once you get invited for a job interview, prepare for it. If a recruiter invites you to discuss a job opportunity, learn as much as you can about the company as possible, from its products and services to the challenges it has faced. The more informed you are, the better you will be able to address the company's needs in a conversation with the recruiter. If it has been a while since your last job interview, search the internet for the frequent questions that are asked at job interviews and think about how you would answer them. It if comes down to you and two or three other candidates--and competition will probably be more fierce in a recession market--being prepared for the job interview can make all the difference.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, in recession times, companies look to recruit people who are twice as motivated and will work twice as hard to keep the company's head above water. During the interview, it is essential to let the recruiter know that you are the kind of person they are looking for. If you haven't had much luck with your job applications, it is easy to become demoralized, or even bitter. If this is the case, it is important not to let the recruiter see this. No matter what topic comes up, keep your answers positive and your eye on the ball.
Last but not least, regardless of how the interview went, always follow up with a thank you note. It shows good business etiquette and you never know when you will meet the same recruiter in a similar situation. Leaving a good impression can open doors for you down the line.
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