5 Steps to Recession Proof Your Job Search

5 Steps to Recession Proof Your Job Search [Guest Blog]

Are you among some of the unfortunate workers who have found themselves having to search for a new job during a recession?

If you are, then it’s time to sit and consider your options.

In fact, it’s time to recession proof your job search.

You need to begin to develop a job search plan that will successfully secure your next role.

A little bit of context

According to the June UK Economic Update by PWC, the UK economy has shrunk by around 25% up to April 2020, which is a worrying statistic.

What should be more concerning to a job searcher is the statistic highlighted in the same report, that vacancies in May dropped to an all-time low of 476,000.

This means that there are 60% fewer vacancies compared to the same period last year.

But don’t let this dishearten you.

Don’t hide underneath the covers and refuse to leave the house.

By accepting the situation and adopting a well scoped job search plan, you will turn the situation around and move your career forward.

How can you possibly do that?

Well we have 5 steps for you to follow which will drastically improve your chances of securing interviews and consequently sought-after job offers.

Step 1 – Put The Scatter Gun Away!

Gone are the days where you can sit in your armchair and fire your CV out to any company that catches your eye and expect a reasonable conversion rate.

With most companies in a serious state of flux, the opportunities just aren’t available as companies seek to move existing employees from areas of the business that have shrunk to those that show signs of growth.

To be successful conducting a job search during a recession it’s essential to be selective when looking at potential employers. 

Quite simply, you must be proactive and do your homework.

Start by identifying 10 employers in your market sector that you would like to work for and research them to ascertain the potential they could offer.

  • Are they currently recruiting or are they making people redundant?
  • Do they have other departments that could offer areas of growth and, subsequently, opportunities?

Targeting companies that experience growth during downturns could provide you a plethora of new opportunities to pursue.

So, examine the skills you hold.

Are they transferable to another industry sector that could be experiencing growth?

No matter what the economic situation, there will always be industries that experience growth.

In the 2008 economic downturn the businesses that experienced growth were found in the fast food, discount stores, auto repairs and utilities sectors.

These businesses often provide services that people still need to function despite any drop in personal finances.

Once you have identified the companies that offer the most promise, it’s time to demonstrate your tenacity and pursue them whether they have vacancies or not.

A great interactive way to do this is to follow the companies/appropriate employees on social media and like, share or comment on relevant posts regularly.

This is particularly effective way to ensure you get noticed if you’re targeting SME’s.

Step 2 – Networking

This tenacious approach should also apply to networking.

Having people on your side is a surefire way to recession proof your job search.

During a recession, many jobs aren’t advertised for 2 reasons:

  • Internal candidates are used to fill the role
  • Companies rely on their own database of recent applicants to fill roles

Both situations are a cost-effective way for companies to fill vacancies in difficult times.

Networking with your business contacts provides you with the opportunity of finding vacancies that aren’t advertised and, as a consequence, far fewer applicants to compete against for the job.

Sitting at home feeling deflated will not provide this opportunity.

Step 3 – Be Flexible

Individuals who remain unemployed for the longest are those who constantly search for that perfect role and who are unwilling to compromise on any aspect.

Unfortunately, a successful job search conducted during a recession has to be flexible.

The ultimate aim of any job search is to open doors, allowing a structured progression to your employment history.

Why limit your possibilities by adopting a blinkered job search?

During a recession, especially this COVID induced one, companies are uncertain when the recovery will begin and so would prefer to take people on a short-term basis, providing them with a flexible workforce.

Therefore, in tough times, it is essential to consider interim, temporary, or even consultancy positions.

The benefit for the job searcher is three-fold.

Firstly, the temporary position will allow you to pay the bills thereby alleviating the stress of unemployment.

Secondly going to work every day allows you to remain positive, maintain a sense of self-worth and network with new contacts that may unearth a permanent position. 

Finally, countless times I have seen these temporary roles become permanent when economic situation improves.

The ultimate demonstration of flexibility would be the willingness to relocate for the right role.

This, understandably, depends on your personal situation and is a massive decision to make.

However, relocation could provide you with financial stability for the foreseeable future so surely must be considered.

Step 4 – Stand Out From The Pack

As with your approach to the job search process, it’s essential that you don’t become lazy with the application process.

Give each application the dedication it deserves by personalising the CV/cover letter to each specific vacancy.

One CV certainly does not fit all circumstances!

Definitely not when you’re looking to recession proof your job search.

Personalising the CV not only increases your relevance to the role, but also demonstrates your level of interest to the reader which can often be the deciding factor when selecting applicants for interview.

This effort should not stop at your cover letter and CV writing.

Before attending any interview, applicants should always research the company in depth, consider how to approach the interview and devise answers to the standard interview questions.

During a recession job search this preparation is essential, there will be less opportunities available during these tough times and therefore every interview is a precious commodity.

Don’t waste them!

Taking time and effort on all aspects of your application will create a polished, professional image making you standout to the recruiter/interviewer.

Step 5 – Positivity

There is no way to avoid it, the job search process will be full of ups and downs but it’s essential that you remain positive throughout.

Candidates who lack positivity can easily be identified in the way they write their cover letter to the way they sit opposite to you during interview.

Job searches can drag on which can cause frustrations that negatively impact your mindset.

The easiest way to maintain positive is to continue forward progression, whether that’s by perfecting your CV, improving your LinkedIn profile, creating a personal website, volunteering at a worthy charity or gaining a further qualification/certification.

These actions will provide you with an awesome confidence booster and reinforce the value you are able to provide an employer.


Thanks for the advice Matt!

If you’re looking to recession proof your job search, everything above is ticking all the boxes.

Whilst a job search can be a full time job in “normal” day-to-day life, these circumstances make it even harder.

You need to dedicate everything you’ve got to stand out from the competition.

Employers only want people who are ready to put in a graft.

If you’re struggling at the moment and are looking for a job, feel free to have a look at our job opportunities to see if somethings suits you.

Good luck with your job search!

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