It’s been called the most anticipated recession ever. But it still hasn’t officially arrived. According to the New York Fed recession probability indicator, there is a 70.8% chance of a U.S. recession in the 12 months. That’s the highest likelihood of a recession in over 40 years. These figures aren’t surprising given skyrocketing inflation, rising interest rates and the layoff announcements consistently dominating the headlines. But it remains a big question mark looming in the distance. Will there be a recession, and if so, when? As a result, you may be asking yourself how to recession-proof your career.
It’s important to note that no job is completely secure—especially during an economic downturn. However, there are things you can do to protect your career. These five strategies will help you prepare for the worst while expecting the best.
Invest in yourself
They say there is no investment more profitable than investing in yourself. By committing to building in-demand skills, you can remain competitive in a volatile job market. Also, the most recession-proof skills are transferrable to many different jobs and industries. These include communication, adaptability and leadership skills.
The ability to communicate clearly and effectively is a necessary skill, no matter what industry you’re in. That includes mastering the art of writing, speaking, and giving and receiving feedback. To improve your communication skills in the workplace, practice active listening, watch your tone and be aware of nonverbal communication. At the same time, hone your speaking skills by volunteering for presentations. Mastering effective communication will go a long way in helping to recession-proof your career.
By highlighting that you’re flexible and adaptable, employers will see you as someone who can thrive during periods of uncertainty. To develop flexibility at work, find opportunities to accept projects outside your comfort zone. Also, try to embrace ambiguous situations. For example, if your team continually reorganizes, look at the advantages instead of the drawbacks. As you learn to embrace change, you’ll be better prepared to handle an uncertain economic outlook.
They say workers don’t leave bad jobs; they leave bad bosses. That’s why leadership skills are universally sought after by employers far and wide. Because workplaces continue to change rapidly, it will be more important than ever to bring out the best in people. That means having a positive attitude, integrity, vision, authenticity and emotional intelligence. By developing your leadership skills, you’ll recession-proof your career while showing your employer that you’re a prime candidate for advancement.
Evaluate your online presence
Don’t underestimate the power of a strong personal brand. To recession-proof your career, pay close attention to your online profiles. For example, if you haven’t optimized your LinkedIn profile in months, now’s the time to give it a makeover. Ask yourself whether it positions you in a way that will attract potential employers. If not, take steps to revise your headline, add relevant skills and ask for additional endorsements.
Keep your options open
In addition to evaluating your digital presence, update your résumé. That way, when you see a potential job opportunity, you’ll be ready. Also, keep your options open. If you identify an interesting position but don’t have all the required skills, apply anyway. You just might land the job. Also, explore other roles and industries you may be interested in. If it happens to be in an area that is more recession-proof, lay the groundwork ahead of time so you’re prepared to make a pivot if needed.
Know how to communicate your value
While it’s critical to demonstrate your hard and soft skills to employers, that’s not enough. To recession-proof your career, you also need to be able to communicate your value. Nurture your professional relationships to get feedback on what sets you apart from your peers. In other words, what is your unique value proposition (UVP)? Your UVP includes the skills, experience and background that make you stand out to hiring managers. In other words, it describes why you’d be a vital asset to their team.
Start a side business
A recession may be just the right time to start a side hustle. For one thing, investors want to decrease their stock exposure and increase their cash savings. That means entrepreneurs are looking for early-stage businesses to invest in. Also, if you have the cash handy, you can start many side hustles with a relatively modest investment. Plus, you can compete with small businesses that rely on loans to get their idea off the ground. Finally, recessions expose pain points that consumers need help with. As a solopreneur, you can quickly take advantage of those opportunities.
No one knows what the future holds. That’s why it pays to hone your skills, stay vigilant and explore new opportunities. Taking an active role in your professional development will give you the edge you need to recession-proof your career.