The COVID – 19 pandemic is affecting the health of millions of people across the globe. Many experts are of the view that after World war II, it is the biggest crisis faced by humanity.
Many industries are feeling the ripples of the COVID-19 crisis. The world is at the brink of an economic recession paralleling the great depression of the 1930s. Staying employed during an economic recession will be a major priority for many people.
Due to slow economic activity, many businesses have come to a grinding halt. Millions of people live paycheck to paycheck to meet their monthly expenses. The slowdown of businesses is fuelling the plight of millions of people worldwide. As the crisis is unfolding, the uncertainty and the fear of staying employed during an economic recession is also increasing.
Economic recession and loss of jobs are inevitable in the present crisis. But the question arises if there are any practical steps that can result in greater job security? The answer is yes. In this article, we will explore five ways that can help you to stay employed during an economic recession.
1. Increase Your Value Within Your Current Organization
The social and economic implications of the present crisis can be overwhelming. It is normal to get anxious in the current situation. Staying employed during an economic recession will be everyone’s mind who is a wage earner. But you will be surprised to know that there are still many opportunities which can give you a glimmer of hope even during these challenging times. Instead of delving into pessimism, shift your mindset from the crisis to an opportunity.
If you are on a job hunt, then your focal point should be the company rather than the job. Employers value those job seekers who take interest in their businesses. Work with due diligence to surpass the company’s expectations. This will mitigate your probability of losing a job.
Another way of value generation is to stop ignoring those informal meetings which everyone else tends to overlook. In the time of an economic crisis, organizations lay off many employees to cut operational costs. Hence, you should make every effort to get noticed by the company’s executives, even if it means participating in these meetings. Your engagement will help you to emerge as a corporate citizen. The company’s executives will take no chance to lose or replace you because you will become an asset instead of a liability for the company.
An additional way to enhance your value is to build up your problem-solving skills. In a slow job market, companies hire only if they need someone to tackle challenges right away. The company you are currently working in will be facing many challenges during the COVID-19 crisis. For you to emerge as a critical thinker and problem solver will increase your job security. It will show the company that you have stepped up your game and are a value-adding team member.
One thing to keep in mind during the present crisis is that millions of employees are working from home due to the pandemic outbreak. Bolster up your knowledge and skills on remote working software technologies.
Take the initiative and add value by promoting these tools to your team members. Businesses are also taking a big hit due to the COVID – 19 crisis. Hence, you should support your company in every possible way.
2. Invest in Yourself
The term “survival of the fittest” applies to staying employed during an economic recession.
According to research published in Harvard Business Review, when there is an economic recession, employers demand higher qualifications and expertise for the jobs as compared to the time when the economy is stable.
This is because, during the recession, the competition in a job market increases due to many skilled candidates competing for the same job. Due to this phenomenon, the probability to get hired for an average skilled worker drops further. Thus, one way to stay relevant in a slow job market is to update your skills set according to the market needs.
But the question arises, how to determine which skill set will help in landing a new job or protecting an existing one? Well, there are many ways to do so. One novel way is to use a third-party free skills assessment, like the one offered by upskillable. They will assess your current skill set and conduct a skills gap analysis to identify your strengths and weaknesses according to your desired profession. Based on the skills assessment results, you can work on your weaknesses and fill the skills gap by taking online courses and certifications.
Another way to update yourself is to do your market research. Remember that there are always some industries that will perform better even in the time of recession. Examples of such industries include online service providers, pharmaceutical companies, and tech startups. Review and acquire the skills and industry certifications demanded by these industries. Fortunately, in this era of information technology, you can take online courses to upgrade your skills and expertise.
Think of yourself as a brand that needs to stand out from the crowd. Brand yourself on professional websites such as LinkedIn and make a compelling resume. As soon as you complete an online course or a certification, make sure to update your resume and LinkedIn profile accordingly.
3. Consider Freelancing
Think out of the box and find alternative ways to stay employed and earn extra income during an economic recession. A fourth industrial revolution in the form of the gig economy is already underway. It means that companies will hire consultants and independent contractors for vacant positions which were traditionally occupied by full – time employees. These independent contractors are also known as freelancers are experts in their fields. The contract between the company and the freelancer concludes as soon as the project ends.
Through freelancing projects, companies avoid healthcare insurance and other miscellaneous costs. These costs are inevitable for maintaining a traditional full-time employee.
During the present crisis, companies are posting their projects on popular freelancing websites such as Upwork, Freelancer.com and Fiverr, etc.
Whether you are a job seeker or an employee, ensure to create your profiles on these websites for a good stream of extra income. Many startups need advice and supervision from industry experts. If you are an expert in a specific field, then you can build your portfolio as a mentor or advisor for startups. There are innumerable opportunities on the internet waiting to get explored.
Instead of seeking a job during an economic recession, earn extra income by starting a YouTube channel, a blog or selling your digital products such as e-books or infographics online.
4. Improve Your Networking
Do not underestimate the power of networking if you want to progress in your career. In normal circumstances, networking is an option for ceaseless growth opportunities. But with the aim of staying employed during an economic recession, it becomes a vital tactic for survival.
According to research, during economic recession companies tend to fill positions through informal recruitment channels more than the formal ones.
In the crisis, some companies do not even bother to advertise the vacant positions. Instead, they look to fill up those positions through internal or external references. Your acquaintances and connections can help you to land a new job which was not even advertised. Strengthening your network both online and offline paves your path for a new job.
The world is observing social distancing to slow down the spread of the disease. It is restricting your ability to grow your network offline. In this situation, you can tap the potential of social media websites. These websites offer unlimited networking opportunities. Examples of such sites include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Quora. They can help you to connect with the company’s executives who need professionals.
Forbes suggests revitalizing old connections and making the new ones by employing alternative ways like a phone call or using chat applications such as WhatsApp, Twitter, and Snap Chat in the present COVID – 19 crisis.
5. Prepare for a New Job Role
To stay employed in an economic recession, many people opt for a “shotgun” approach to apply for jobs. It means that they send the same generalized resume and cover letter to many companies. Unfortunately, they are unable to get tangible results using this strategy. This is because a generalized resume portrays them as traditional job seekers who have the same conventional skills which every third person seems to have at the time of recession. Avoid this approach and customize your resume according to each new job opening. In this way, employers can know that you have something meaningful to offer for them.
An additional way to enhance your value is to build up your problem-solving skills. In a slow job market, companies hire only if they need someone to tackle challenges right away. The companies convey the skills and expertise that are requisite for that position in every stage of the recruitment process. According to Forbes, candidates have more chances of landing a job when they give specific examples of how they used their problem-solving skills in the past position to tackle a complex situation.
Some companies have an edge over others during the present COVID-19 crisis. These companies include online retailers like Amazon, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, AI, Cloud Computing, and Data Science start-ups.
These companies have thousands of job openings available both on-site and remotely. Once you have chosen the desired growth industry, build a customized resume by including only the relevant skillset.
After sending resumes to a handful of vacant positions, prepare yourself for an interview. Research best practices online that will help you to ace the virtual interview to land a job. After getting a job, you need to be very flexible in your expectations of the company. This is because in these times companies are also grappling the change in circumstances.
The job market is shifting rapidly amid the present COVID-19 crisis. These circumstances make it difficult for you to stay employed during an economic recession. A pessimistic approach will make the situation worst. The key to growth is to stay optimistic and take steps considering the above five tactics. This will help you to control some of the factors that can result in a job loss.
About the Author
Sohail Al Qureshi is a Co-founder at upskillable based in London, United Kingdom. upskillable provides a free platform that assists job seekers and professionals to gain people insights into their professional skills and competencies. Using upskillable, candidates can remotely determine their job fit based on their skills, cognitive, and personality traits.