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How to manage career growth during an economic downturn?

by Aripriya Basu August 25, 2020
career growth

Economic downsizing can happen anytime. It is perhaps going to be one of the biggest economic consequences owing to this pandemic.

But, of course, this will not be the first time.

Many of us remember the recession of 2008. Many people lost their jobs and the available job posts were not enough to fill in the huge chunk of dismissed employees.

Career growth became a distant dream for many, and a lot were forced to work for far less than they deserved.

Those were indeed dark times, but unfortunately, they might return.

By now a lot of people have been laid off. The travel and automobile sector has taken the maximum hit of the pandemic, followed by the textile, food sector, and many other B2C sectors.

But does that mean your career growth will come to a standstill for a few years?

Won’t you be able to get a promotion or pivot the direction of your career?

Maybe not.

As an old saying goes “when there’s a will, there’s a way”

Your career growth will not come to a standstill if you practice these:

Learn new skills

Think about it, why do you keep on buying new iPhones?



Well, of course! But also because they are an upgrade over the previous model.

The same applies to laptops, tablets, and also, your career.

For instance, if you are into designing, and learn a bit of copywriting, you can easily design and curate the content of a website, without seeking help from anyone else.

The company too will just need you to fill in two positions, thereby saving money during an economic downsizing. That means you are safe from being laid off!

You can also read about the essential soft skills for career growth here.

Value addition

Companies don’t run a charity. They have a simple give and take relationship with their employees.

To that end, if you wish to continue your career growth in your existing organization, start adding value to your work.

If you can’t add value, then you will be the first one to be chopped from the company.

Start by looking for means through which you can add value to the firm. It need not be something big right at the start though.

Ideally, it should be enough to show your managers that you are proactive, willing to take up new responsibilities, and a person who takes initiative.

You can volunteer for work in the existing committees and partake in the special projects that the company is taking up.

Putting in bankers’ hours is not enough, especially if you are trying for career growth during a recession.

You need to go that extra mile.

Strong relationships

While deciding on career growth, ask yourself “Whom do I know?”

This is a very crucial question, for the answer to this will help you get on the next level on your career growth journey.

However, if you don’t know influential people in your industry, start on developing your relationship today. Start leveraging LinkedIn.

Add as many business owners, project managers, and HR personnel from your industry as possible. Follow relevant hashtags and engage with them.

However, do not start with an “I am looking for a change” message right away. Start building your relationship first.

In addition to adding relevant people to your network, work on your relationship with your managers and boss in your existing organization.

Talk to them and understand the vision they have for the next 1-2 years.

Based on this information, you can upgrade to make yourself relevant to the company resulting in career growth.

Social media management

Of course, you are on Instagram. Twitter and Facebook. The entire world is!

However, not everything you share on these handles highlights your candidacy. Or worse, they might come in the way of your career growth.

So before you take another step towards career growth, cleanse your social media platforms.

For starters Google yourself and see what information comes up. Delete all posts, tweets, comments, and pictures that are not related to your personal brand in any way.

Additionally, get rid of content that might showcase your religious and political opinion. That is one dirty road to walk on especially if you are planing career growth.

Search for recession-proof jobs

You have seen all the career growth tips perhaps. You know all the things that you need to do to ensure career growth during an economic down-time. But have you looked at the rescission-proof jobs?

Do these even exist?

Of course, they do! Think about it, what are the things that you have continued to use even during this global pandemic?

Newspapers, FMCG products, toiletries, and so on, right?

So, that shows that these industries are less likely to face any laff off.

Additionally, the pharma and education sector in fact got its major boom during this time.

So why not looks for jobs with these sectors?

For instance, if you are into sales, you can make do in both pharma and the FMCG industries. With a fair idea of copywriting, you can also apply for advertisement jobs with newspapers and magazines!

This is the time to think out of the box. If you want career growth, use this time to come up with career options that are tailor-made for your expertise.

In case you don’t want to change your verticle, apply with companies that have been in business for a long time. Such companies are less likely to run out of the air during a recession.

Keep your resume optimized

Do not wait up to lose your job before you start doing this. Your resume is like the first impression you make towards an organization. So, make sure you have it ready.

Keywords are not only good for SEO friendly articles. They play a major role in your resume too. So, ensure that you have keywords placed all over your resume in strategic locations.

However, do not go overboard with its usage.

Keep the resume short, crisp, and free from unnecessary fluff. It’s crucial to update the skills and experiences as and when you have them.

Read and gather information

So far you have been doing only those in your control to boost your career growth. Unfortunately, not everything will be within your control.

However, being aware of the same can give you some leverage when it’s required.

To that end, read and research about the recent trends and best practices being followed in your industry.

Understand what is causing the slow-down of business for other firms and if your company is vulnerable to that change.

Have frequent conversations with your ex-collages and batchmates to understand the practices being followed in their firms.

Having access to such information can help you decide on the ideal course of action for your career growth.

How to improve career growth is a question that bothers us all. To survive an economic downsizing, you have to be better than the best. Start working on upgrading yourself right away.


What are the best jobs during a recession?

There are some professions that remain unaffected during an economic downsizing or a recession. These professions include tech professionals, utility workers, people involved in the medical profession, teachers, and professors. If you keep upgrading your skills, you will still be relevant and valued.

How to keep finances secured during a recession?

Finances must be well managed during a recession or in preparation for one. For starters, it’s important to cut down on the expenses sticking only to the basic. Additionally, pay off debts since others would be in need of money too.

It’s also advisable to keep an emergency fund ready in case you have to fall back on it. Finally, diversify your financial portfolio so that if one crashes you can always earn from another portfolio.

Which industries suffer the most during a recession?

Though overall most industries take a hit during a recession, retail, automobile, sports, travel, and real estate take the major hit. Since these industries directly cater to customers they face a loss of sales when the purchasing power of people decreases.

However, there are quite a few roles within these industries that can work for other industries too, sales for instance.