7 Ways to Recession-Proof Your Career

As economists and financial trend-watchers continue to express concern about a possible (some say probable) slow-down or recession later in 2019, it makes sense to start now to recession-proof your income to the degree you can.

Can you do that? Well, no one can protect their income from any and all possible threats, but there are some common-sense actions you can take now to be ready just in case a slow-down comes.

Monitor Your Current Company’s Financial Health

One of the most important ways you can stay ahead of market downturns is to be tuned into how your current employer is doing financially. Track their achievement against KPIs and internal projections. Read annual and quarterly reports. Monitor stock prices. Unless all this information is hidden, you shouldn’t be caught off guard by a financial slump if you pay attention.

Monitor Your Current Industry’s Growth

The same is true of your current industry: by paying attention, you should be able to spot negative trends in the making way in advance. How is your overall industry or sub-sector performing against predictions? Are current events likely to have a negative impact in the months ahead – for example, the US government shutdown or the trade disputes between the US and China? Read market forecasts and stay abreast of news in your industry niche to help you anticipate when it may be time for you to take preemptive action.

Monitor Your Own Job Performance

It’s also important, of course, to evaluate your own job performance multiple times a year. To the degree you can stay ahead of expectations or KPIs you can boost your workplace brand. While this won’t necessarily save you from a layoff, it gives you a chance to be retained or promoted. After all, it never hurts to be indispensable. Of course, this also means you will need to be honest with yourself about how you’re performing and what you need to do to upskill.

Get Your Resume Revamped by a Professional

In my 35+ years in the career management business, I’ve heard many people say they waited too long to get their resume overhauled, but I have yet to hear one professional say that they got theirs done too early. There’s no such thing. The time to invest in a resume revamp is when you don’t think you’ll need one. By the time you do, it’s almost too late. The most important thing is to be ready to go to market at a moment’s notice or seize an unexpected career opportunity.

While you’re at it, invest in the best resume writer you can afford. This is one investment that pays off with your first new paycheck.

Keep Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile Updated

Your resume and LinkedIn profile should be updated at least once a year and in a year with an economic slow-down predicted it makes good sense to do so every 6 months if not every quarter. Review the achievements showcased in your resume and make sure you’re highlighting the most important and impactful ones. Incorporate recent accomplishments and new initiatives and don’t forget to add additional education, professional development, or affiliations when relevant. Don’t forget to assess and revise your resume’s positioning and career brand, too.

You should ideally update your LinkedIn profile at the most fundamental level at least once a month, even if that just means making very minor additions. Keep your Skills list maxed out at 50, build your network to a minimum of 500+ connections, and join at least 25-30 industry and functional LinkedIn groups. Also ensure you get at least 2-3 recommendations for your profile (with 1-2 per listed role preferable).

Update Your 2019 Career Goals and Your Long-Term Career Plan

You revise your career goals annually, right? And compare them to your long-term plan, which you also revamp annually as needed? If not, you should begin now. Too many professionals invest too little time and energy in maintaining their career integrity and trajectory – this failure puts your revenue generation at risk, which in turn puts your lifestyle at risk.

This is more important if you do not have 6 or more months’ worth of income stashed away in savings. The last thing you want to have to do is pull money from savings to live on, of course, but if you must, you’ll be relieved that the money is there to draw upon. If it’s not, you may be forced to take the first job you’re offered if something happens to your current employment, and this is rarely a recipe for long-term career success.

Bolster Your Career Strengths and Upgrade Your Liabilities

What are your greatest strengths career-wise? What is your brand and how can you optimize it in the balance of 2019? What about your career liabilities – do you know what they are? How can you eliminate or buffer their impact to whatever degree is possible?

Now is the time to build up your skills and credentials, take some classes, volunteer to lead a new project, or accept a stretch assignment. Now is also the time to be honest with yourself about your weaknesses and take reasonable action to mitigate them. You may not be able to change your age, for example, but you can opt for a new LinkedIn photo or hairstyle. You can redesign your resume to emphasize your strengths and eliminate older employment dates from your LinkedIn profile.

The most important thing is not to stick your head in the sand and assume everything will be all right. Wouldn’t you rather rest easy at night knowing that you’ve already done what you can realistically do to prepare for the worst? I thought so.

All the actions suggested in this blog post are part and parcel of an annual career check-up process I recommend to all my clients. If don’t already know how to do this, check out my Annual Career Check-Up Assessment & Self-Coaching Program, now on sale through February 28, 2019.

About Cheryl Lynch Simpson

Cheryl is a Career, Job Search & LinkedIn Coach and Master Resume Writer. She has helped clients in >35 industries on 6 continents and has earned 24 global resume writing nominations and awards.