10 Ways To Build Career Resilience in a Recession

According to a recent survey, 73 percent of respondents said concerns about a recession impact their career decisions, including whether to look for a new job or try negotiating with their employer for a higher salary.

Additionally, 39 percent of U.S. workers are worried about their job security, with 11 percent specifying they are “very worried.”

Given this growing economic uncertainty, career resilience has become a necessary core professional competency. To support remote workers and professionals at all levels, FlexJobs’ Career Coaching team has outlined ten key ways workers can build career resilience during a recession.

The remote career service has also identified the top 25 companies with the most remote job listings between October 1 and November 14 to provide job seekers with leads to companies with healthy remote hiring activity in the last 45 days.

“Career resilience is all about focusing on the things you can control,” said Toni Frana, Career Services Manager at FlexJobs. “Even in the best of economies, advancing your career path requires time and effort.

Whether you’re a new remote or hybrid worker or well into your career, we hope this advice encourages all professionals to assess short and long-term career goals and better understand how developing career resilience can help in achieving them––even if the unexpected happens” Frana concluded.

Below are ten ways remote and hybrid workers can practice career resilience during a recession:

1. Think Like an Entrepreneur

Professionals are responsible for charting their path and building their personal brand, so leading with an entrepreneurial mindset means knowing that a career is yours alone to manage.

Instead of relying on a company or employer for personal and professional success, managing one’s career path like a business gives the power to the individual to set and achieve the goals they set out for themselves.

2. Focus Your Job Search

As hiring still happens in down times, job seekers should identify and narrow their search to companies actively recruiting new employees.

For example, Airbnb, CVS Health, and DoorDash were among the top 25 employers hiring for remote and hybrid jobs between October 1 and November 14. These companies have had healthy remote hiring activity in the last forty-five days, with the full list of companies available here.

3. Put Your Financial House in Order

Even though the average person can save up to $6,000 working at home half the time, inflation concerns and recession fears are still fueling a heightened level of concern for many flexible workers, especially around managing day-to-day finances.

Alleviate some of this uncertainty by better monitoring daily expenses and getting all household finances in order. Review budgets with a fine-tooth comb, find ways to reduce spending and focus on increasing “rainy day” savings. Additionally, take time to assess both current financial wellness and long-term financial goals, including retirement savings, protecting investments, and estate planning.

4. Highlight Achievements

Having a list of accomplishments helps any candidate build confidence, better recognize their strengths, and highlight their greatest attributes for job searching––all incredibly important when navigating an unstable hiring market. If unsure which accolades to include, ask current and former supervisors, bosses, colleagues, and clients to write a recommendation on LinkedIn.

In addition to helping professionals identify their skills, these recommendations are particularly helpful for remote workers because it’s like having reference letters out there for everyone to see online before they even ask. Just be sure to let recommenders know the skills and qualities you’d like them to focus on. If it feels uncomfortable asking, start the process by writing a recommendation for someone else first.

5. Get Social

Social networking sites can be great for helping remote workers find job opportunities and make connections at a distance. But creating a profile is not enough. Especially during a recession, it’s important remote professionals actively manage and update all professional digital profiles on sites like LinkedIn with the latest skills, experience, and education.

Creating a dynamic profile can tell a candidate’s professional story and help position them as an expert in their area. This includes highlighting the right keywords that make profiles more searchable by hiring teams, showcasing highly relevant skills to a given career industry, and organizing everything to present skills in an impactful way.

6. Seek Out Side Hustles

Side gigs can help workers insulate themselves from financial instability. They can help build up savings in the present to lean on should hard financial times happen down the road. If workers lose their full-time jobs during a recession, side jobs can help keep them afloat until the economy turns around. Plus, if history is any indicator, there’s a good possibility that remote freelance jobs will increase, as seen in past recessions.

When economic conditions become uncertain, companies often turn to freelancers when it’s not possible for them to take on full-time or part-time employees. Non-traditional types of work like freelancing and multiple part-time or side gigs don’t have to be a permanent choice, but they are an excellent support line in uncertain times.

7. Make Mental Health a Priority

Beyond financial hardships, recession-related fears of failure and anxiety about the unexpected can take a toll on workers’ mental health. But as highlighted in this Mayo Clinic breakdown, “resilience means being able to adapt to life’s misfortunes and setbacks.”

Workers who take care of themselves and practice acts that put their mental health first, such as developing work-life boundaries when working from home and engaging in personal activities outside of work, are better able to cope with immediate challenges, build grit, and weather any issues that may arise during difficult times.

8. Stay Strong & Network On

Effective networking is more than gathering contact information for later use. In addition to knowing where to network, professionals need to know how to ask people to join their network, maintain industry connections and feel confident when networking.

In the event of an economic downturn, candidates should prepare by staying active within their current network and by actively expanding it. While in-person networking is beneficial, remote professionals can utilize the “My Network” tab on LinkedIn, which is highly valuable for connecting with past peers, colleagues, and mentors.

9. Give Back

Helping others can prevent professionals from dwelling too much on personal circumstances. Additionally, volunteering can help professionals gain the experience that many employers want. For example, nonprofits frequently need help with accounting, marketing, event planning, and much more.

It provides workers the chance to try out newly developed skills in a professional setting and can be a great way to test out a job before making a permanent career change. Sites like VolunteerMatch and Idealist.org are great places to get started and look for opportunities.

10. Expand Your Knowledge

Committing to lifelong learning allows professionals to take charge of career development and increases their resiliency and self-confidence. Seek out professional development courses, training, and webinars related to any in-demand skills or any that are of interest.

Fortunately, many basic courses can easily be found online for free. If employed, consider looking for opportunities or taking on more responsibility within current roles to hone new and existing professional skills.

In addition to extensive career advice, job seekers have access to a robust database of resources from the FlexJobs Career Coaching team, including Q&As, resume reviews, one-on-one coaching sessions, mock interviews, webinars, and more helpful career support.

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Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.