According to an article in The New York Times, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that the unemployment rate as of December 2007 is 13.2% higher than it was in December 2006. Historically, a year-to-year difference of 13% or more has led to a recession. While these statistics don't offer proof that a recession is underway, now is certainly a good time to look at your job, company, and industry and think through strategies for recession proofing your career. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself to get you started.
Analyze your industry
Is your industry growing or shrinking? Have certain job functions been eliminated, automated, outsourced, or off-shored? Could you easily do every aspect of your job from home...in your pajamas? If your industry is shrinking, what skills do you have that are transferable to another, more robust industry?
Review your skills
Have you diversified your skills over the past 5 years? What competencies do you possess that your colleagues do not? Do you volunteer for new projects that require you to stretch and make you a little less replaceable?
Be a continuous learner
Have things changed in your industry within the past 5 years? If you had to look for a new job tomorrow, would there be something lacking in your skills that would raise a red flag with employers?
Do people in your industry or profession know about you? Can they find out more about you by visiting Linked In, Zoom Info, or Ziggs or just plain Googling you? Is your online presence distinct or are you one of thousands of John Does?
When was the last time you offered career advice to a friend or colleague? Do people see you as the type of person they would like to help if you were seeking career advice or would they duck and cover?
Always have your resume ready
If the perfect opportunity presented itself tomorrow, would you be able to quickly shoot your resume off to the decision maker or would you be scrambling around to create a half-baked cut and paste document? Would you feel confident that your resume adequately represents your accomplishments and the value you can bring to an employer?