The American economy is entering a recession due to the business impact of COVID 19. I want to take a moment and discuss what I have learned from the previous two recessions. Just like many of Lucas Group’s current candidates, I was changing roles during the recessions of 2001 and 2008. My experience left me with three valuable lessons that all job seekers should understand.
First, what stage of my career was I in during these times? In 2001, I was in sales for a smaller technology company in the midst of being acquired by Hewlett-Packard. In 2008, I had just graduated from Graduate School. Great timing.
During the recession in 2008, I was also looking for a change. I had graduated from my master’s program and was looking forward to the increased income and responsibility that should appear upon graduation. This recession lingered, causing some of the most challenging periods of economic growth stagnation since the great depression. My ROI from the degree had to wait, and I wondered if it would come at all.
What I learned during these times has stayed with me. When my job search in 2003 extended to almost an entire year, I treated job searching as if it was a full-time job until I just needed income and began to work for my brother in law painting houses while still interviewing frequently. I understand how tough a recessionary period can be. The following three things helped me, and are important for all job seekers to remember:
1. Know your strengths:
Both for your existing employers and for future ones, it is vital to understand what companies look to you to accomplish. You should be able to quantify these activities with results around growth, efficiencies, or other critical metrics for your space. If you have been recently restructured, hold on to these measurables as well. It is a reminder that you are great at what you do, it is just that the next employer needs to see that more clearly than the last.
2. Be flexible:
When I finally received a job offer after searching for months, it was for less than I had ever made previously. It also was starting as a contract role with the potential to go perm later. I still jumped at it. It was time to go back to work and not let my ego impact the things I could be learning in this role. This flexibility extends into how to use your time. Indeed networking and having a daily plan will help you get you ready for your next function, but it is also helpful to work on new skills to keep your mind and attitude fresh.
3. Stay positive:
You may be in a position where you were passively looking to leave, and now the economy has delayed that. Maybe, you were recently relieved of your role. Remember, you were not fired for something you did. You likely were in a position that was deemed not part of the plan during a difficult time. Being let go is not your fault, stay positive, and remember what you have accomplished and learned doesn’t go away with change.
Whether you were passively looking or recently part of restructuring due to the unprecedented economic times that exist, work with a recruiter and your network of professional contacts. These people will help you stay positive and find your next great adventure.