How you can take advantage of a slowing economy
Recessions don’t just affect businesses- they have a real impact on individuals. It’s hard, in fact, to imagine anyone whose job won’t be impacted one way or another during the recession. In a recent article titled Recessions Suck, Jared Bernstein put it this way:
But what does recession mean to folks on the ground? How bad is it, really? Pretty damn bad. Given recent historical patterns, three million more people could join the unemployment rolls, and middle-income families, already squeezed, and with income levels still recovering from the last recession, could lose another $2,500.
Smart employees need to take action now, before things take a turn for the worse. The choice is simple: by taking steps now to secure your future, you can make sure to come out of a recession better than when it began.
Step 1: Decide if you’re Staying or Going
First, you need to look at where you’re at. Why even try to keep a job at a company that won’t make it through tough times? Even if you work at a strong company with a great outlook, how will your department fare? Get started by answering the following questions:
How well do I expect my company to make it through a recession?
Certain industries tend to be recession-proof. In otherwise, they either maintain well or even thrive when money gets tight. If you’re wondering how well your company may weather the coming storm, do some research to see how your industry will be impacted. The following industries are believed to be recession-proof:
- 20 more recession-proof industries
How important is my department?
If your company had to cut costs, would your department take a hit? Find out what your company’s lay-off history has been.
Am I in a foundation position in my company?
Foundation positions are anything that the company needs in order to operate. Traditionally, they include the following:
- Sales & Marketing
Am I ready to seek a new, better position?
This is a great time to examine whether you have a future at your company or not. How often do people move up in your organization? How long has your boss been in his or her position? When was the last time your boss or mentor talked to you about moving up?
If you don’t have a clear career path set out at your current company, this may be a perfect time to pursue a better career elsewhere. If that’s the case, you can use the networking information in this article to help land yourself something bigger and better elsewhere!
Whether you’re planning on staying or going, the following steps are essential to your future career.
Step 2: Manage your Reputation
When your organization makes decisions related to hiring or cutting staff, your reputation is what will make or break you. In the case of layoffs, how protected are you if no one knows who you are or how you’ve contributed? Additionally, when someone Googles you, what comes up? If it’s nothing, you may have a problem. If you haven’t begun already, start managing your reputation today by doing the following:
- Find ways to generate sales or cut costs
- Always maintain visibility
- Keep a list of your accomplishments
- Keep a great attitude
- Make a goal to own the first page of google results when someone searches for you
- Get profiles at www.linkedin.com and www.facebook.com and start adding business contacts
- Start a blog related to your talents. The web is the fastest place to establish yourself as an expert
- Answer work-related questions on Linkedin and Yahoo! Answers
- Sign up for profiles on relevant social networking sites
- Regularly perform searches for your name to see what your employer or prospective ones will see when they research you
Step 3: Build your Personal Network
The best way to secure your future in the workforce is through networking. Whether you want to find a new job at a different company, or move up in your current one, nothing will help you more than a strong network. The fact is, it takes more than a polished resume to move up- plenty of talented, accomplished individuals don’t get promoted or hired because they only relied on their resumes to get ahead. Here are four places that you can go to build your network:
- Coworkers: build friendships with your fellow employees. Anti-social employees aren’t going to be promoted to manager- they’ll stay exactly where they are. Being connected at work means you’ll always know about possible openings and have friends to ask a favor of when you need it.
- People in different departments and in different organizational levels: Never make the mistake of thinking someone is “beneath” you.
- Prospects: Land a new sale for your company, and you’ll secure your position.
- Competitors: Keep as good as a relationship as you can with your competition- they may be who you contact if you end up seeking a new job. Getting yourself on the radar of other businesses means they might even contact you when they begin hiring.
- Take someone you know out to lunch & talk about your careers
- Contact an old college buddy or business contact- go grab coffee and re-connect
Step 4: Be Ready for Anything
The truth is, no matter how indispensable you or your company may seem, life is unpredictable.
- Polish up on your skills: Take a refresher course, learn something new. Whatever would get you ready in case you have to take an unexpected dip into the job pool, do it now.
- Stay open to new opportunities: If you’re approached by a business who is interested in you, meet with them even if you’re not looking right now.