Whether the USA goes into a recession in 2020 or not, the sad truth is that economic downturns are a part of life. There will always be times when the economy isn’t great and jobs are at risk and there’s no career that’s completely recession-proof. However, there are ways you can help protect your career during difficult times.

Consider Retraining in a More Stable Career

Certain industries get hit the hardest by a recession and its often companies that offer products and services that people cut back on that are the hardest hit — from fashion to travel. If you’re currently in an industry that’s up and down, you may want to consider retraining for a second career. For example, Baylor University Online offers nursing degrees that you can study online, so once you graduate, you’ll be working in healthcare, which tends to stay stable even during periods of recession.  

If you take a look at the top recession-proof jobs, you’ll notice that anything in nursing or healthcare comes at the top. People will always get sick, whether the economy is good or bad, meaning if you work in a job like healthcare, you are less likely to suffer layoffs.

Look at Which Jobs are Most In-Demand

Another way to find yourself in a more stable position is to look at the most in-demand jobs and see if you’re skilled enough to take one on, or whether it’s an area where you could possibly retrain. In 2019, there were big shortages of nurses, medical administrators, and other healthcare professionals, as well as a lack of people who wanted to work in construction or had specialist tech skills.

You could also look at your current industry and find out, perhaps through networking, which jobs they are having trouble filling. You could then consider upskilling by taking relevant courses, meaning that if your company is facing layoffs, you could potentially change positions.

Keep Up with What’s Happening in Your Industry

There are many ways you can find out what’s going on in your industry:

  • Reading trade magazines
  • Networking
  • Keeping up to date with the news
  • Attending important work briefings and events

If you’re trying to develop your career and protect yourself from a recession, it’s important to know what’s going on in your industry. This can help you find out when it’s in trouble and when it’s booming, which companies are doing well, and which might be facing layoffs. Nobody wants to be blindsided by news that the business they work for is in trouble, so make sure you know what’s going on so you can make plans.

Learn to Cope with Stress

Working in an industry that’s suffering during a recession is tough, and you may find your stress levels impact your work. Unfortunately, this can lead to poor performance, which means you put your career at risk if layoffs are happening. Learn how to cope with stress at work, so if things become difficult, it doesn’t affect your work performance and you can cope with the tough times.

Volunteer for Training and Development Opportunities

One way that you can put yourself in a good position at work during a downturn is to upskill in your current job. If your manager wants someone to learn a certain skill or put themselves forward for training, consider investing the time. This will ensure you have skills that your co-workers don’t, making your position more secure in case of a recession.

Consider a Relocation

If your current role is in danger, but there are potential roles in different areas, you may want to consider a relocation to somewhere with job opportunities. Relocation isn’t an easy choice; you’ll need to consider things such as:

  • Your children and their education
  • Whether your spouse or partner can get a job at your new location too
  • The average salary in the new city
  • The cost of living and whether the move will benefit you financially

If you really love your industry, but are worried about the economy, then a relocation may be a last resort, but it does come with its own challenges.

Look for Industries Closely Aligned to Your Own

Even if your current industry isn’t doing so well, sometimes you can continue your current role in a closely aligned industry. For example, if the travel industry is affected by a recession, you may be able to transfer your skills into hospitality. If customer service roles are in short supply, you could retrain in healthcare using your people skills. Don’t feel like you are locked into one industry forever.

Work on Your Soft Skills

A recession can make the job market more competitive and if you find yourself going up for different roles, it helps to have some soft skills under your belt. Most people use their soft skills every day at work, from communication to conflict resolution, but it’s worth spending time developing your soft skills and perhaps taking a course, so you have something solid to show for it. This will also help prep you for interviews if you decide to go back to college or get a different job, as you’ll be able to give real world examples of your skills.

Take a Look at Your Finances

If you are aware a recession may be coming up, don’t wait until it bites to take a look at your finances. Many people who get laid-off or have their salary cut due to a recession will struggle financially, which may lead them to make unwise choices about their career. If possible, cut back your expenses where you can and focus on an emergency fund. That way, if the worst happens, you have money to live on while you take some time to job hunt or can invest it in further training or the cost or relocation.

A recession is a tough time to get through, which is why it’s always worth planning for the possibility and working on your career development to minimize the damage where possible.