Saturday, January 19, 2008

Recession-Proof Your Career

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 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?

Be visible
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?

Share information
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?

Labels: , ,


  • While my thoughts are overall quite consistent with those you point out about "recession-proofing", it feels like many are "reactive" or "at-effect", rather than proactive.

    For example, if one is unemployed, find a temporary position to gain experience or grow new skills. It shows flexibility and ambition. Adding to your positive point about 'continuous learning' is that it is as much what the company offers as it is a person's "thirst for knowledge and competency".

    Finally, having a resume handy can mean more than being ready to 'shoot one off.' It requires considerable research and forethought. Resumes' today as you point out in other posts are 'tailored' recognizing the (1) quick scan phase, with eight "knock-out factors"; (2) critical reading phase where focus is on key behaviors, and (3) something special about the person, which can be mentioned in the cover letter.

    Thank you,

    By Blogger Unknown, at 9:54 AM  

  • Dan,

    Thanks for your comments. You are order to effectively manage your career, you need to be like a boy scout...always prepared. My point was that people should always be thinking about their resume, accomplishments, and core competencies...the resume should always be good to go because it should be continuously tweaked to capture a person's brand as it evolves.

    By Blogger Barbara Safani, at 11:55 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home