4 Tips for Staying Resilient When Job Searching in a Recession

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An uncertain economic climate can cause added stress when you’re in the market for a new job. The majority of professionals (74%) cited concerns about a recession impacting their career decisions, according to a recent FlexJobs survey. These concerns may be warranted, as many companies are preemptively instituting layoffs or hiring freezes in anticipation of an economic downturn.

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Although a recession — or an anticipated recession — can be a daunting time to be looking for a new job, it’s important to not lose hope, and to take steps to be the most desirable candidate you can be. Here are a few tips for staying resilient when searching for a job during uncertain economic times.

Work on Building Your Personal Brand

You may find that there are currently fewer jobs you want to apply for and a lull in job interviews. Use this less busy application time to work on bettering your appeal as a candidate. One way to do so is to work on building your personal brand.

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“The goal of brand building is to create a consistent message that automatically equates job seekers with what they do best,” said Toni Frana, career services manager at FlexJobs and Remote.co. “This not only helps applicants capture the attention of recruiters, who on average spend less than seven seconds reviewing an applicant’s resume, but can be key in demonstrating your long-term career plans and goals.”

Once you’ve honed in on what you want your brand to represent, ensure this is conveyed in all of your application materials.

“Make sure that resume and cover letters are customized for every single position, but carry over key branding statements from your social media and website for the ultimate in consistency,” Frana said. “Craft materials to have an immediate and lasting impact in what may be the few seconds a recruiter or hiring manager spends reading them.”

You can also build your brand by strategically promoting yourself on social media.

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“When job searching, it’s imperative to create strong social media profiles that catch the attention of recruiters,” Frana said. “Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to display a profile that’s frequently updated with information about professional assets. Use the same profile photo and color schemes/background photos across all networks for easy identification. Also, be sure that any bio information is listed consistently on all sites, and note how certain platforms fit different career fields better than others.”

Focus Your Job Search

Although you may be tempted to cast a wide net when the job opportunities are slim, this is likely not the most effective strategy. Instead, focus your efforts on applying for jobs that fit your skill sets at companies that are actively hiring.

“Closely follow trends in your career field and stay in the loop on the latest industry news,” Frana said. “This is the best way to assess, pivot and target your career search accordingly.

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“More specifically, pay close attention to the social media accounts of businesses you aspire to work for, which can really help you keep a pulse on company-specific news, announcements, and potentially, upcoming career opportunities,” she continued. “Signing up for job alerts via text or email can also help you learn about job listings right as they go live. Switching your job search mindset to researching companies first might help expedite your job search and allow you to find a position that hasn’t been posted on job boards yet.”

Build and Tap Into Your Network

“Relationship-building is a key component in job searching,” Frana said. “While networking on LinkedIn is great, there are many methods and networking events that can help you make real-time connections that can give your career search a boost. This includes joining professional organizations in your field, asking for informational interviews with people in your industry and seeking out mentorship. Even a job fair (in person or online) can help get your name in front of more hiring managers that might just have the right job for you.”

With limited jobs available, knowing someone who could help get your foot in the door when you find an open position can be invaluable.

Give Yourself a Break

Job searching can be stress-inducing during the best of times, and it’s typically even more so during times of economic uncertainty. If you feel yourself becoming burnt out or overwhelmed, it might be time to take a short break.

“Just like you need breaks from work to recharge, having free time and occasionally stepping away is also essential in job searching,” Frana said. “When you’re job searching, this can be tough advice to follow, but the truth is that everyone needs time to recharge. Creating a schedule that includes taking time for breaks and having days off will drastically improve your search for prospective employers.”

If you don’t want to stop your search entirely, Frana recommends taking a break from filling out applications and using this time to do other things that will benefit your job search.

“Supercharge your free time with other activities, such as taking the afternoon off to update your LinkedIn profile, attending a networking event, meeting with a career coach or building an online portfolio,” Frana said. “You’ll get a much-needed mental break from company research while still accomplishing essential tasks.”

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 
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