- Keep your skills updated. Staying up to date on technology is incredibly important in this increasingly digital world. Think of what skills are most relevant to your specific Is there a certification that you can earn? Is there an online course that you can take? Think about what will make you competitive in your field. Do everything you can to make yourself as marketable and current as possible. Nearly every field has courses and certifications you can take, from tech to marketing to sales. Ask your boss what skills they think you should acquire for your professional development. Or ask people in your network for advice. What are they doing to stay up to date in their own skill set? This is also a great topic for networking conversations!
- Expand your network. This is essential for your career at any point, no matter what the economy is like. If a recession hits and you get laid off, you will have a quality network to engage in to enhance your search. The more you do now to network and build your relationships, the easier it will be when you are in the job search and need to leverage those connections. Don't wait; start setting up calls to catch up with your network today. There are a number of people I check in with on a quarterly basis. I love it. It's just conversational, fun, and no pressure. That's how it should be. Then, if we ever need to support each other, we’re ready to do it because we’ve been building a relationship over time.
- Become indispensable. It's even more important during a recession to perform your best and become indispensable to your employer. This doesn't mean that you need to work overtime or do more than what’s reasonably expected of you. But find ways to go above and beyond and improve your job performance, if you can. This might mean working smarter, not necessarily harder or longer. Think about ways you can add value. What is the bottom line that your employer expects from you? Get creative about ways that you can save the company time or money, or help them gain new customers. Now is not the time to be complacent in your career.
- Always keep an eye out for new positions—even if you’re happy. If you suspect a layoff might be coming at your company, you need to be proactive about looking for another position. Even if you don't suspect anything, it's never a bad idea to keep an eye out for other opportunities. Look at the job boards periodically. Touch base with your network regularly to discuss potential opportunities and stay up-to-date with who’s hiring and expanding. Make sure that you have your resume and other portfolio documents updated and ready to go, just in case.
- Start a side income. If you are working full-time, it might be easier than you think to start a side hustle or a consulting business. When I first started my company, I kept my full-time job for a year. There's no better way to recession-proof your career than to develop a second stream of income. It may be completely different from what you do in your day job. In fact, my family recently had some portraits taken, and I learned that it was the photographer’s side job. She was actually a full-time air traffic controller. How cool is that? If you were to start a small business on the side, what would it be? Start making plans now, before you need it.
- Get your finances in order. My husband and I sit down with our financial advisor at least once a year to review our accounts and reevaluate our strategic decisions. You need to think about things like life insurance, a 401K or other retirement account, a savings account, and maybe even an investment account. A good financial advisor will give you strategies on how to prepare for a potential job loss or recession. It's typically recommended that you have a savings reserve equivalent to about three to six months of expenses. A financial advisor can also provide strategies on how you can pay off your debts. You will be glad you took the time to be more strategic about your finances.
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