If you've been looking for a job this past year, then you know how discouraging it can feel at times. And when you read the news, the same themes keep popping up: massive layoffs, inflation, and the rising costs of living.
Then, one of those articles inevitably uses a word every job hunter fears, “recession.” This can reasonably lead you to wonder whether we’re in a recession right now and, if we are, how do you find a job in a recession?
Fortunately, these are the exact types of questions we’ll clear up in this article. Let’s look at what you can concretely expect to take away from this read.
A recession is an economic downturn characterized by a decline in the economy over a long period of time, usually lasting for at least a few months. During a recession, you'll typically see a drop in key economic indicators, such as gross domestic product (GDP), employment, investment spending, and business profits.
Recessions are a normal part of the business cycle, and it's important to note that recessions are not always negative.
They can serve as a natural correction in the economy, allowing it to shed inefficiencies that have built up during periods of growth. In this sense, recessions can pave the way for renewed economic growth and innovation.
But let’s not sugarcoat anything here.
Recessions can also lead to job losses or reduced incomes for individuals and businesses. That's why governments and central banks often intervene to minimize the impact of a recession and stimulate a return to growth.
The U.S. is not in a recession, but economists can’t promise a recession isn’t coming.
Here’s some good news: In the last quarter of 2022, the U.S. economy grew by 2.9% (followed by a 3.2% growth in Q3). And in the first quarter of 2023, the GDP rose by 1.1%. Plus, the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in decades.
That said, this growth doesn’t indicate the economy is safe from a downturn.
Here are two of the most interesting findings from the National Association of Business Economics’s (NABE) latest report:
So while the U.S. is not in a recession right now, that doesn’t mean one isn’t on the way. Let’s dive deeper into what you can expect from the job market during a recession.
During a recession, the job market can be challenging for job seekers. Several trends tend to impact the job-hunting experience during an economic downturn:
That said, “challenging” has never meant “impossible.” With the right tools and strategies, you can increase your odds of getting a job in a recession.
Whether or not the economy is in a recession, your field might not grow as fast as you’d like. For example, in 2023, over 135,000 have been laid off by U.S.-based tech companies, according to Crunchbase.
And while recession-proof jobs and recession-proof industries may exist, the truth is that recessions carry a ripple effect that impacts most business sectors.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few tips to get a new job during a recession, depending on where you are in your career. That way, you can create a strategic job search plan that secures a new position in the shortest possible time.
Entry-level job seekers can employ specific strategies to help them find a job during a recession. Here are a few practical tips tailored specifically to entry-level job seekers:
When writing your resume, highlight the transferable skills you have acquired through internships, volunteer work, extracurricular activities, or coursework.
These skills, such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork, can be valuable across various industries and roles, making you a more attractive candidate even with limited work experience.
But this begs the obvious question, “How do you showcase transferable skills on a resume?”
This is where a tool like Teal’s Resume Builder comes in handy.
First, with Teal, you can analyze all of your job descriptions to determine which type of skills your hiring manager is looking for:
Then you can look at your personal experience and determine which skills you’ve demonstrated that are transferable to the current position.
For example, imagine you're scanning a job posting for a marketing coordinator position, and it's clear that the hiring manager values strong communication, teamwork, and project management skills.
You think back to your time as a volunteer for a local charity event, where you successfully led a team of fellow volunteers in organizing the entire event.
You demonstrated excellent communication skills by coordinating with stakeholders like sponsors and venue managers. You also collaborated with fellow volunteers, and your project management skills were evident in your ability to juggle multiple tasks and meet deadlines.
With Teal, you can quickly add the relevant keywords from your experiences that match those in the job description to your resume, even using our built-in generative AI to help beat the blank page when needed:
Then, just click on the Cover Letter icon at the top of your dashboard:
And you can generate a personalized cover letter that includes your transferable skills in seconds:
Ready to dive in and start creating your resume or cover letter?
Sign up for Teal 100% risk-free and see how easy it is to personalize all your application materials in a single platform.
Bonus: Interested in using generative AI to improve your resume? We believe job seekers should use every tool at their disposal, so here is a helpful resource on how to write a resume with ChatGPT.
Your biggest struggle will be proving to hiring managers that you have the experience necessary to do the job (and to do it well).
Consider taking on internships, apprenticeships, or temporary roles that can provide you with valuable experience and connections in your desired field. These opportunities can help you gain a foothold in the industry, even during a recession, and lead to full-time employment later on.
When going after internships, however, you’ll still need to send a professional resume and a short cover letter.
Never sent an application or cover letter before? No worries, we’ve got you covered! A good place to get started is with this guide on how to write a job application email.
Networking on LinkedIn can be a game changer for entry-level job seekers looking to land their first job. By connecting with professionals in their desired industry, job seekers can gain valuable insights into what it takes to succeed in that field and learn about potential job opportunities.
And building a solid network will increase your visibility to recruiters and hiring managers who may be searching for new talent on the platform.
But what if your LinkedIn profile isn’t quite ready for a hiring manager to view?
For that, try Teal’s LinkedIn Review tool:
This helps you optimize your LinkedIn profile and stand out to recruiters, increasing your odds of getting a job.
It’s a free Chrome extension that doesn’t take any technical configuration to get started. Once synced with your LinkedIn account, it’ll analyze your profile and give you personalized recommendations for improvements.
Not only will this help you look better for the positions you’ve applied to, but it will help you show up in search results for recruiters (i.e., it might just land you a job you weren’t expecting!).
Try out Teal’s LinkedIn Review tool today!
Here are some tips tailored specifically to mid-level job seekers:
As a job seeker aiming for a mid-level position, showcasing your accomplishments is key to standing out among other candidates. You need to emphasize the impact you've had in your previous roles, highlighting your achievements in a way that captures a potential employer's attention.
When discussing your successes, use quantifiable metrics such as increased revenue, improved efficiency, or reduced costs to illustrate your value. When you can demonstrate that you’ve made a beneficial or (ideally) profitable impact in your previous companies, it’s much easier to land that interview.
A strong and confident presentation of your accomplishments can make all the difference in landing that desired mid-level role.
While you may be seeking career advancement, it's important to be open to lateral moves during a recession. This flexibility can help you find new opportunities, expand your skill set, and maintain your employability until the job market improves.
That said, embracing lateral moves doesn't mean you have to settle for a job you don't like. In fact, it can be an opportunity to negotiate a better salary, benefits, and professional tasks that align with your interests.
When considering a move to a new company, even if it doesn't come with a better title immediately, you need to focus on the bigger picture. During a recession, it's all about staying proactive and adaptable.
So, don't shy away from lateral moves – they can be an essential stepping stone in your career journey, leading to a brighter professional future.
That said, savvy job seekers know that when given a choice, sometimes you’re allowed to choose “both.” You can apply to multiple positions simultaneously, with some positions being a lateral movement and some positions being a professional step forward.
But if you want to apply to multiple jobs and stay organized along the way, there’s no better solution than Teal’s Job Tracker:
This lists out all the job openings you’ve applied to (or are currently applying to) and tracks it through the following stages of the hiring process:
This is an excellent way to stay organized in a centralized platform to effectively follow up on an application with hiring managers and see which ones are getting the most traction.
Teal’s Job Tracker comes with the resume builder, and you can try it out 100% free by clicking here!
Develop a strong personal brand that showcases your expertise, accomplishments, and unique value proposition.
This can include creating a professional website, contributing to industry blogs, or engaging with your professional community on social media platforms. But when it comes to professional networking, there’s no better social platform for building your personal brand than LinkedIn.
Start by optimizing your LinkedIn profile to reflect your expertise, accomplishments, and unique value proposition. Again, if you can add measurable outcomes to your work experience, that’ll give you a substantial competitive advantage.
Next, engage with your professional community by sharing relevant content, commenting on industry-related posts, and participating in LinkedIn groups. Don’t hesitate to reach out to others for endorsements and recommendations, as these can significantly boost your credibility (yes, we know it’s awkward, but it’ll be worth it!).
As you’re building your network, consider trying Teal’s Contacts Tracker:
This feature lets you add contacts from LinkedIn and set reminders for the right times to reach out to each individual.
You can track contacts by location, company, and outreach stage to send hyper-personalized messaging that sets you apart from your competition.
Want to see it in action? Check out Teal’s Contacts Tracker today!
Here are some tips tailored specifically to senior-level job seekers:
Highlight your leadership skills, strategic thinking, and ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Demonstrate how your experience has prepared you to lead and navigate challenges, which can be particularly appealing to potential employers during a recession.
But you might be reading this and thinking, “Easier said than done.” And we get it!
That’s why you should try a few of the following actionable tips:
a. Update your resume and cover letter
First, take a good look at your resume and make sure you're highlighting specific instances where you've exhibited leadership, strategic thinking, and adaptability. Use strong action verbs, and don't hesitate to quantify your achievements.
Next, let's tackle your cover letter.
Craft a compelling narrative that outlines your ability to lead and adapt in the face of challenges. Share a story or example demonstrating your resilience and resourcefulness in overcoming obstacles. Remember, your cover letter is your chance to connect with potential employers on a personal level, so make it engaging and impactful.
Again, Teal’s Resume Builder is hands down the best resource for helping you get started here.
b. Prepare for interviews
Be ready to discuss examples of your leadership and adaptability during interviews. Practice answering questions that may arise about your experiences and how they've shaped your approach to problem-solving and decision-making.
Got the pre-interview jitters? Check out this resource hub to prepare for your next interview.
c. Showcase your skills on LinkedIn
Use your LinkedIn profile to highlight your leadership and adaptability. Include endorsements and recommendations from colleagues or supervisors who can attest to your capabilities in these areas.
For some quick help, optimize your profile with Teal’s LinkedIn Profile Reviewer.
d. Develop a professional portfolio
Create a portfolio that showcases your leadership and adaptability in action. This can include project summaries, case studies, or presentations demonstrating how you've successfully navigated change and led others.
As a senior-level professional, you likely have an established network of contacts. Make the most of these connections to uncover job opportunities and gather industry insights.
Keep in touch with former colleagues, clients, and peers, and consider joining professional organizations or attending industry events to expand your network further.
One challenge that many job seekers face, though, is rekindling past professional relationships.
Reconnecting with old contacts can be a valuable part of your job application process, but it's essential to approach these relationships with sincerity and genuine interest. Consider the following steps and be cautious about coming across as self-serving:
Focus on cultivating genuine, mutually beneficial connections that create a solid and supportive professional network, ultimately increasing your chances of landing a great senior-level role.
While searching for a permanent role, consider offering your expertise as a consultant or interim executive. This can help you maintain your visibility and credibility in the industry while providing valuable experience and connections that could lead to a full-time position.
To kick off your consulting journey, start by identifying your niche based on your skills and industry knowledge, and develop a straightforward service offering. Outline the services you provide, the value you deliver, and the types of clients you aim to work with.
Set a pricing structure that reflects your experience and the value you bring to clients, and research market rates for consulting services in your industry to remain competitive. But remember, as you take on consulting projects, build a portfolio showcasing your work, complete with case studies and testimonials from satisfied clients.
More than taking these roles for the paycheck, a stronger and more competitive portfolio of your work is what you’re after.
That way, as more senior-level roles open up, you can throw your hat into the ring.
The good news is that, at this moment, we’re not in a recession. However, economists aren’t sure we’ll hit a recession by the end of 2023.
Regardless, many of the same principles apply to job seekers regardless of the economy’s strength, such as:
For most job seekers, the challenge is less about knowing what to do and more about finding the time, energy, and motivation to do it (all while keeping a positive attitude, of course).
That’s why Teal is such a great solution. It takes out the friction at every step along the way. With Teal’s suite of tools, you can:
And so much more. But we understand that seeing is believing, so we want you to see it 100% risk-free.
Get started with Teal for free and witness firsthand how easy it is to land your next interview!