Career and Job Search Guide

Do's and Don't During A Recession

The basics of effective job searching do not change during a recession, but the effort that a job-seeker must put into their job search increases dramatically if they want to be successful. The following is a list of important do's and don'ts you should take to heart if you're searching for a job during a recession. Do's
  • Make sure to launch your job-search with a well thought-out plan. An effective job-search plan will include types of jobs you're seeking, employers you prefer to work for, locations you're willing to work in, and your strategy for obtaining a position with one the employers you want to work for.

  • Be aware that preparing will be the key to your job search success. You shouldn't start your job search until the necessary groundwork has been laid -- job search strategy developed, resume written, cover letters prepared, etc.)

  • Invest more effort and time in your job search than you ever have before. Make your job search your #1 focus. Set goals to achieve certain job-search activities (i.e. 50 cold calls, 30 follow-ups, making new network contacts, etc.) on a DAILY basis. Make sure to stick to your daily schedule and if possible to exceed your daily schedule.

  • Make sure a big part of your job-search strategy includes career networking. Networking is arguably the #1 way to find a good job, especially during a recession. When the job market is tight most new hires come from referrals from other employees. Want to dramatically increase your chances of find a good job quickly? Start networking!

  • Develop and implement an online networking strategy. Many professionals have found their jobs via online networking in professional online communities including LinkedIn. Did you know that LinkedIn has its own job board for its members? Online networking can be an effective means for find a job -- especially during a tight job market.

  • Make sure that traditional networking is also a part of your core job search strategy. Again, using a network of individuals in a field to find career opportunities is one of the most effective ways to land a good job. If you're a graduating student and don't have a network then make one! Get a list of alumni from the school you attend and start networking using the alumni list.

  • Develop a resume that focuses in on your accomplishments rather than your skills. During a recession most companies are bottom line driven - they only want to hire individuals they believe will quickly contribute to the bottom line. Show your experience and highlight skills that show you're going to be a profitable asset to potential employers.

  • If you've just been laid off we recommend taking a little bit of time to recover. It often takes time to come to terms with an unexpected termination -- especially if you've been with an employer for a long time or you're facing a career change. Jumping straight into a job search may lead to unintentional mistakes if you're still recovering emotional from being let go.

  • Perform in-depth research on every employer you're interested in working for so that you know exactly what each employer is looking for in their employees. Understanding each employer will help you understand how to tailor your resume and position yourself in a potential interview.

  • Make sure to follow up on all job leads until you're certain the position has been filled or no longer exists. In a recession, the most successful job-seekers are thorough and persistent.

  • Develop a strategy for developing your own personal brand. To accomplish this consider actively participating in industry conferences, trade shows, writing articles for trade publications, etc. You may even considering developing your own personal website showcasing your accomplishments, published articles, etc.

  • Make sure you're well prepared for interview. The interview is arguably one of the most important facets of the job search process. If you're good at interviewing you'll be hired quickly. If you're not, you could be searching for a long time. However, if you're not good at interviewing at the moment don't despair, getting good at interviewing is something you and develop with the right instruction and plenty of practice.

  • From developing a customized resume to wearing the proper attire to a job interview to writing a personalized thank note make sure you following proper job-hunting etiquette. Proper etiquette is especially important during a weak job market where there is a lot of job competition. Proper job etiquette may just be what makes you stand out from another job candidate.

  • During a recession where the job market is very weak you should consider exploring and accepting a position with a temp company. Not only will this help you pay the bills for a while BUT working on a temporary basis with a company may just turn into a full-time position if they like the work you do. Temping can also provide you valuable experience that will assist you obtain another job if you're short on experience.
  • Don't rely on just one job search technique or strategy. The most effective approach, especially during a recession when the job market is weak, is to employ a variety of job-search techniques and strategies (i.e. networking, social networking - LinkedIn, cold contacts, job fairs, etc.)

  • Don't get down. During a recession it normal get a lot of rejection -- but don't take it personally and don't get distracted, stay focused. During a recession it's going to take all job seekers, not just you, a much longer time to find a good job.

  • Don't spend much time -- if any -- on job boards. If you do spend time on job boards focus on specific employers and their websites rather than simply scrolling through jobs on the job site. Consider a job-search engine to pinpoint the most recently posted jobs.

  • Don't neglect to customize your resume and cover letter for each and every employer. This is key! One of the most effective ways to show an employer that you're a good fit is to show that your experience and skills are exactly in line with their industry and what they're looking for. A general resume that simply lists unrelated experience and skills will get you nowhere. If you're apply for a specific job make sure your resume is tailored to that job.

  • Don't get discourage because it's a recession. The reality is that many companies that are laying off employees today are hiring more employees tomorrow. Many job-seekers have found great jobs and even the perfect careers during a tight job market.

  • Don't fall for any fee based job-hunting services or work-at-home scams. If you have the experience you may considering using a reputable headhunter or recruiter to find a new job as these professionals only get paid once they find you a position.

  • If you don't hear back from an employer in a few week don't get discouraged. Hiring cycles are starting to get longer and longer. Just make sure to follow up with the employer periodically to let them know you're still interested in working for them.

  • If you're struggling to find a new job don't give up. During a slow job market it is not uncommon for it to take anywhere from 6 months to a year to find the right job. If you're really struggling you may consider using an experience career counselor to assist you in your job search.