Worried about layoffs? 5 tips for job seekers (and future job seekers) in a slowing economy

Employees working in a modern office.


More workers are being thrown out of work (or worry they may soon be) as a number of high-profile companies, mostly startups and in tech, have moved to freeze hiring or even cut workers and rescind job offers. worked.

New jobless claims rose to an eight-month high last week. Initial jobless claims increased by 7,000 to 251,000 in the week ending July 16, causing the four-week moving average to increase by 4,500 to 240,500, according to the Labor Department. Those numbers are still a marked improvement from last July, when the four-week average of jobless claims came in at more than 405,000. And the actual unemployment rate in June (the last reported month) is still a low of 3.6%.

Still, fears of an impending recession have caused nearly 80% of Americans to worry about their job security, and nearly a quarter of workers are extremely concerned about their job security, according to a recent survey. . With more cuts expected in the near future, you may be wondering how to prepare for a layoff or what to do if you lose your job.

1. Maintain and expand your network

“Relationships can always accelerate your success,” says Kimberly Brown, career coach and author of Next Move, Best Move: Transitioning Into a Career You’ll Love. “I know someone who may be unemployed may not want to hear that… but they are literally the only thing that can accelerate your success in that way because if someone can talk when there are 1000 applications, and you have a contact there, at least you can get an interview.

Brown says she wishes that during her time working in the university’s professional development offices, she had provided students with a more structured approach to maintaining relationships.

“It doesn’t have to be a big deal to maintain a relationship,” he said. “I think people will think you need to meet with people once a quarter, you need to have an hour-long conversation once a month. Maintaining a relationship doesn’t necessarily look like this, there are many different ways to keep it in mind, even something as simple as being active on LinkedIn.

2. Contact previous recruiters

Interviews with people who have lost jobs and job offers in the past show that maintaining relationships with recruiters can be key.

For Patrice Ju, founder and head trainer of Carpe Diem Careers, the current wave of layoffs is reminiscent of the job cuts that many, including herself, experienced during the Great Recession. “He was devastated and in shock. I didn’t think that could happen to me,” Ju said of losing her first job after college in 2008. But her first step of reconnecting with recruiters she had been in contact with during the search Her initial job proved advantageous.

“One of my tips is to, if possible, stay in touch with former recruiters, because you never know where you might land in the future,” Ju said. “So I reconnected with a recruiter, I reconnected with my friends who were working at Deloitte then, and I was able to get a few interviews and finally got the job offer.”

Ju’s story is similar to that of Jenna Radwan, who previously told Forbes about her experience losing a job offer due to the economic downturn. Radwan was able to get back on her feet quickly because she reached out to previous recruiters she had been working with during her job search, one of whom offered her a position that she eventually accepted.

3. Keep learning

Ju has provided career coaching to over 400 people in all kinds of industries, but one piece of advice from her always remains the same: “keep your skills up to date” and always keep learning “so if something happens to your position.” or her job, she can easily and quickly switch and interview and then show a future employer that she is still very competitive in today’s market.”

Ju earned an industry-based certificate during her time between jobs, something economist Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown University’s Center for Education and Workforce, says can help job seekers stand out from a crowd. of applicants. He “he makes you look more like an experienced worker in a way.”

Earning a certificate is one way to stay competitive as a candidate and keep your skills up to date, but it could also mean going back to school or learning on your own. But make sure “whatever you’re doing is producing something,” says Brown. She suggests looking at job descriptions to “make sure you’re doing and acquiring those skills, whether it’s public speaking, coding or writing, communications.” She adds, “Whatever it is, make sure it’s directly related to the job and not just a nice skill to have.” [because] you can get the skills that are good to have by having a great mentor or coach.”

Brown says if you choose to go back to school, as many people did during the Great Recession, make sure it’s a program that will help you land your next job, whether it’s through a strong career development office, alumni network or job placement. Program. In fact, says Carnevale, many people view education as “a safe harbor against recessions and bad economic news,” and for good reason. Hiding from a recession in college “is not only safe, but it improves your position when you return to the job market,” he says.

Zachary Herrmann, executive director of the Center for Professional Learning at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, says he has found the networking that comes from participating in one of his programs to be “remarkably valuable.” In other words, it’s not just what you’ll learn in some professional or continuing education program. “Much of the value that comes from participating in some of our professional learning programs is the ability to form networks and relationships with others in the field,” says Herrmann.

4. Hone your interview skills

“When people are being laid off, it’s hard not to feel desperate,” Brown said. “And while you may be desperate, I think it’s very important that you don’t convey that in interviews and in conversations and still keep your conversation skill-based.”

Brown recommends the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, and Result) method when answering behavioral interview questions, which means job applicants describe a specific situation, the goal they had, what steps they took to reach that goal, and what steps they took to reach that goal. was the result. He stressed that answering questions with the STAR technique might not come naturally, so people should practice telling stories that showcase career success.

“If you haven’t done an interview in years, don’t think that you’re going to magically put those shoes back on and everything will be fine. It’s not going to be okay,” she said. “It is not necessary to prove it when the stakes are high. So you have to practice. Whether you’re practicing with a friend or just by yourself, make sure you know what the stories are that show you’re having success. What are the stories that show you being resilient and navigating through a problem? What are the core stories that really share who you are and what you will be able to do? The secret of interviews is that most of the time, all these damn questions are the same.

5. Be open-minded

Brown recommends staying flexible during a recession, especially for recent graduates. “We have to think a little more long-term when there is a recession [about] How can you develop skills now or take a step now that will allow you to do exactly what you want to do later, he said. For example, if you can get your foot in the door of a company you want to work for, but maybe in a different field, be open to that and “when things get better, make that transition” to what you want. I’d rather be doing.

In some cases, being laid off can provide the time to consider changing industries or doing something a little different, in which case practice interviewing and practicing “communicating your skills” and how they would benefit a different type of company is paramount, says Ju.

Herrmann echoed Ju’s advice, encouraging the people who have been laid off to reflect “on what they are passionate about, what impact they want to have.” [and] the type of organization they want to work for.” He added: “If they want to transition, that might require developing new skills, interacting with different kinds of people or different kinds of organizations. It may take some work, but that work could ultimately prove important in the long run.”

MORE FROM FORBESWave of high-profile tech layoffs raises fears of past recessions and stalled careersBy katherine huggins

Source: www.forbes.com