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Simple Steps to Recession-Proof Your Career Right Now

Right now is when all of us should be taking stock of our situations, assessing our jobs and developing a career safety net. There are two categories in which to focus your efforts: job search tactics and job saving tactics.


Focus on making money. During a recession, the first cuts are typically made in what are considered support positions such as administrative, human resources, marketing and public relations, and customer service. If you have the ability to transfer within your company to a profit center—think sales, for example—that’s something to consider. If you can solve costly problems or save big bucks in your current role, get busy doing that because you can be just as valuable if you save money as someone who brings in money.

Don’t hide. Ignore the conventional wisdom that times of trouble mean you should be quiet, bury your head, and do your job. Definitely do your job—and do it really well—but be visible and vocal about your contributions. Make sure your boss—and even the boss’s boss—knows what you’re doing and how well you’re doing it. If your knowledge and contributions are essential to the company, there’s less of a chance you’ll be axed, so it’s up to you to communicate that before a decision has been made to eliminate your job.

Align with bigwigs. The cynics call this sucking up. We call it saving your job. In every company there are power brokers and all-stars. Those people can be great allies in times of trouble. They can help protect your job by fighting to keep your position during discussions of where cuts should be made. If you’re not already in with such folks, get to know them now. Volunteer to help with a key project, participate in meetings, or even stay late or come in early if that’s the best way to get some face time.


Get resume-ready. Don’t wait for a pink slip to figure out what you’d put on a resume to account for the last several years. offers resume templates to showcase your skills, abilities and accomplishments.

Network now. The classic mistake is waiting to call all of those long lost friends and former colleagues only when you need something. Check in with them now. Make a list of 50 people who aren’t part of your inner circle. It’s not a difficult number if you push yourself. Having this list handy will enable you to be one step ahead of the game should you find yourself needing to start a job search.

Visualize your dreams. Ask yourself, “If I didn’t have this job, what would I want to do if I could do anything?” Also ask, “If this job went away tomorrow, where could I see myself working?” Put all of those answers on paper. Be comprehensive. It could be a move to a competitor or it could be a whole other industry. That’s the start of a roadmap—you have to know where you might go before you can actually get there.