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In late July, it was announced that the US had experienced two consecutive quarters of GDP decline. Historically, this metric has served as the defining marker that the economy has entered into a recession.

While there is now debate about whether this definition should be adjusted, the fact remains that the economy has been trending in the wrong direction for an extended period of time.

Even if the formal definition of a “recession” is amended, it’s quite possible that we continue to slip into one. As a result, many workers are wondering how such a situation will affect their employment and career trajectory – and rightfully so. To help mentally prepare for the worst, here are some expectations and tips for how to navigate a recession.

Trimming of Nonessentials

While every employee is certainly essential to some aspect of the business, in times of crisis, managers sometimes have to pursue layoffs. When this happens, they start by addressing departments and roles that aren’t absolutely critical to keeping the lights on. In most cases, teams with several employees holding the same title are trimmed first, followed by entry-level employees. Because some managers recognize the capacity to train promising new hires over the coming years, they are often more apt to furlough mid-level workers who are underperforming or duplicitous.

An Employer’s Market

Even now with slowing GDP, it’s still an excellent market for candidates. Growth and resignations have left many firms with vacancies, and as a result, top candidates have the luxury of leveraging several competing offers against one another.

The job market changes during a recession, however. As fewer hires fill a decreasing number of vacancies, being an attractive candidate becomes more important. The tide thus turns, and employers are able to offer less competitive compensation due to the omnipresent forces of supply and demand.

How to Navigate a Recession

A recession job market can be frustrating and downright painful for candidates – even the most qualified. Scarcity of opportunity is a legitimate risk, and even unemployment compensation will fail to satisfy most workers’ basic needs.

To best position yourself for a potential recession:

  1. Add value wherever possible. On your current team, strive to make the lives of your coworkers (particularly your superiors) easier by solving problems and eliminating roadblocks. Be a voice of reason and a willing addition to projects. Rise to the occasion of taking on responsibility.
  2. Upskill in your downtime. Try to acquire meaningful skills such as proficiencies in Excel, coding languages, accounting software, or financial modeling. These additions to your skill set will help you both contribute more in your current role and create a strong resume for future applications.
  3. Stay on your game. Monitor and optimize your LinkedIn profile, attend networking events, stay informed of recent industry happenings, and strive to be an attractive candidate before you are forced to be.
  4. Develop relationships with recruiters. Even while actively employed, you can work with a recruiter to begin a passive job search for your next role. This arrangement will allow you to continue adding value at work while setting the stage for your future. Your recruiting partner can help you prep for interviews, create a strong resume and even make introductions.

Weather a Recession Job Market with Turn2Partners

No matter where you are in your career, Turn2Partners has a recruitment professional who can help you effectively and successfully navigate a recession. If worse comes to worst, know that you are not alone. We can help you leverage your strengths and present your best self to top employers throughout the Washington, D.C. area. Being an attractive candidate starts with working with the right partners; side with executive search allies who have your best interest in mind and will work tirelessly for the benefit of your career. Get in touch with a team member today to learn more.