Source | FastComapny : By PETER BANERJEA
Few people saw the 2007—2008 financial meltdown coming, and there’s little reason to expect the next recession to be much different. Despite important reforms since then, economic downturns are cyclical—and so far, we haven’t figured out how to eradicate them for good. And that means it’s only a question ofwhen the next one will happen, not if.
While most of us can’t avoid being affected, we can shore up our job skills right now and build resumes that are comparatively recession proof when job markets do tighten up. Not only that, we may be able to reduce our chances of being laid off and raise our chances of getting hired again (without taking a big pay cut) if we are. Here are four ways to do it.
During a recession, employers and recruiters prefer people with track records of considerable accomplishments in challenging environments to those with transferrable skills. So it helps to strengthen your resume by working on projects that are difficult and contribute significantly to your company’s growth.
These projects will often land you in unfamiliar territory and compel you to pick up new skills to tackle the unknown. If they’re hard, messy, and high stakes, well, that’s the point. Many projects will give you the opportunity to work under an experienced mentor who can help you build your knowledge outside the expertise required for your day-to-day job. And succeeding in tough undertakings like these can give you a powerful psychological boost, too, raising your confidence to take on bigger challenges—or weather hard times when they hit you unexpectedly.
But opportunities for “stretch” projects may not be easy to come by in your own organization. So if that’s the case, look elsewhere. If you’re comfortable in your role and ready for a change anyway, start checking out high-growth startups and industries where you’ll be more challenged. Which companies and their projects are getting media attention? Working on high-visibility undertakings is also a great way to build a professional brand that can help you stay ahead in a competitive job market.
Learning quickly is a vital skill during a recession because market conditions change so fast, usually requiring you to use different methods in order to succeed. Besides, you might not find a job that requires the exact skill set you already have. So you’ll need to demonstrate to recruiters that you have a track record of learning quickly—not just the potential to do so.
Take a look at your role and your industry. What certifications do your peers have that you might want to consider? What new technologies or methodologies can it help you to master? Picking up some new qualifications can not only boost your resume, it’ll also expand your knowledge base and help you find new solutions to challenges at work.
To be sure, you can only build up so much knowledge individually. But it isn’t about becoming your industry’s Swiss Army knife. As you work on deepening your own skills, you should also build a wide network of experienced and credible people who can point you toward blind spots you might not know about. Show up to the right network and consider joining some industry groups. Sure, this can often be where job opportunities come from, but in the more immediate sense, they’re also important ways to learn—including learning what it is that you don’tyet know.