The first economic downturn I remember was the dot com crash in 2000. It was shocking that even the best computer engineers were struggling to get a job. Today’s economic downturn feels similar. Unfortunately, many people have been negatively impacted, as layoffs appear to be far reaching.
If you’re one of those people, keep hope. Economic downturns are temporary, and they aren’t universal. In 2000, I was studying computer programming. It felt like the entire world was losing their jobs. But, when I talk to people today who worked in other industries, the dot com crash was barely something they thought about.
If you are looking for a new job, keep the industry in mind. Try to find a company that sells something that is more recession proof. For example, a company that sells luxury products may be more likely to be at risk. A company that sells something more essential, such as pest control, may be a safer bet. If the company is publicly traded, read about it in the news. Look to see if their stock has fallen lately, or how analysts are speaking about them.
When you’re interviewing, keep job interviews going with multiple companies. Very often, a company will put a candidate through many rounds of interviews over a long period of time. Along the way, the company may even tell the candidate that they intend to give them a job offer. When a candidate hears this, they typically walk away from every other job opportunity. They want to focus in on the sure bet, and they are relieved to no longer need to keep up this long process.
But, so often, this scenario doesn’t end well. The company may not end up hiring the candidate after all. This leaves the candidate feeling out of control, and forces them to start searching all over again. You may wonder how in the world this could happen. The company could suddenly have an unexpected hiring freeze. The company could change their plans about hiring. Or, they could have simply overestimated how far the candidate might go in the process. Keep your options open until you receive a job offer in writing.
If you have always wanted to go back to graduate school, an economic downturn could be a good time to enroll. Going full time allows you to opt out of looking for a new job for a year or two. And, it gives you the opportunity to reenter the workforce as the downturn is ending, with more qualifications than you started with. It can be a great way to make a negative into a positive.
Whatever happens, keep up your networking – even when you are working. The best insurance you have against job insecurity is your network. It is especially important to nurture these connections when you don’t need anything. Then, if you find yourself in need, you’ll have a team of contacts ready to help out.