A man applying for a job on a computer

Your career in a recession

Our UofG careers director Linda Murdoch offers expert advice on dealing with the effects of an economic downturn on your career prospects.

Linda MurdochDuring these unprecedented times, it’s understandable to feel apprehensive about how COVID-19 could affect your career prospects. Redundancy is already a reality for some and uncertainty surrounding our prospects is shared by most of us at this time.

Experience from previous recessions and downturns can help us prepare for the worst should it happen, but it also enables us to adapt to take advantage of new opportunities which are likely to arrive with economic recovery.

Use your network

Thanks to social media, we are more connected than ever before, and this makes it far easier to identify others who could support your job-hunting efforts. Get your LinkedIn profile up to date and make sure your contacts know you are looking for new opportunities. Our Careers Service website holds some useful advice on building an excellent LinkedIn profile and how to work it to help you identify potential openings.

Pivot your skills and experience to other sectors

Many of the skills and qualities you develop and build up in your career can readily be utilised in other sectors that you may not have considered before. Perusing the essential criteria of job adverts is a simple way of identifying which other areas of the labour market might benefit from your skill set. Consider everything at the outset and you may be surprised to find that many jobs require similar criteria. For example, a significant list of the skills required to be a careers adviser can also be found in the roles of teacher, lecturer, customer service manager, social worker and personal coach.

Keep an open mind

A global crisis can ‘pull the future forward’ and you are likely to see emerging business models taking hold more quickly. Home working, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality have all gained momentum during lockdown. Similarly, health, social care and other sectors primarily concerned with ‘public good’ are currently in ascendancy and likely to be expanding their labour base.

Stay positive

By getting your network primed to support you and ensuring your CV and LinkedIn profile are refreshed, you have already taken the first positive steps to futureproof your prospects. If you are facing or have been made redundant or have been unsuccessful in some job applications, it is important not to dwell on setbacks but to learn from them and move on quickly. In the current climate, finding a new position could take some time. Volunteering or taking a short course can help you stay positive and improve your prospects at the same time.

This article was first published September 2020.