In this market riddled with uncertainty, job hunters have to adapt their approach. We went seeking advice in past recessions, to see what lessons can be applied to the present.

Recession or not, the next months will be hard for job hunters. Companies will be experiencing a second lock-down.

1. Find interest in growing sectors and in emerging needs

In an article published at the dawn of the 2008 recession, Mark Cummuta, founder, Triumph CIO Group, advised professionals to « choose a company before a job title » and to « focus their efforts on growing industries » as well as « labour needs ».

Following this piece of advice, one can create a first list of « target » companies », picking companies from essential services that will be maintained no matter what, and no matter the strength of the second wave.

2. Clarify what you can bring to a company

While answering Express readers’ questions in 2010, Edouard-Nicolas Dubar, author of Comment trouver un emploi en temps de crise (How to find a job during a crisis), he explained what differentiates a period of growth to a period of crisis for a company.

« During a period of economic prosperity, he explains, companies will look for candidates with potential and will take the time to train them. During a crisis, they will look for candidates that are available right away, that are operational, focusing less on diplomas and short-term evolution potential. […] They will look for “fire-fighter” profiles, capable of taking action in a hurry and with a level head. »

Knowing this, we understand the importance of making a good assessment of our own skills before offering our services to a company.

In How to Get a Job in a Recession, Denise Taylor, the author, goes a step further, suggesting that job hunters should complete a « skills audit » and while they are it, might seek extra training to perfect a skill in demand as well.

3. Make yourself useful

At the same time, several companies are in panic-mode and probably don’t have the time for elaborate hiring procedures while in need of immediate labour.

They need to fill in the gaps, put fires out and will look for a lot of flexibility on the part of hired ressources.

This second finding brings us to one of Ronald Torch’s advice, President of a marketing hiring firm in Cleveland, who said, during the 2011 recession :

« Consider hiring an interim to fill a temporary position whose work needs to be done despite the slowing economy. Or approach a company that interests you, no matter the position. When the economy picks up, new roles will become available. »

4. Don’t take it « personally »

If you are currently looking for a job, it’s probably because you have been laid off recently. On top of that, there is a strong chance that you have already had other job applications turned down.

In her book, Denise Taylor invites job seekers not to take refusals « personally ».

« You can certainly take some time to grieve a job. At the same time, you need to know how to let go quickly enough, or else you will waste your ressources. It will be difficult to find success in your job search if you feel depressed or embarrassed by being laid-off. »

All straight ahead and… go for it!

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