Protecting Yourself as a Job Seeker or Employee During a Recession

April 20, 2020
Hiring Trends

Unfortunately, recessions are relatively common in the United States. Far from desirable and typically indicative of structural weakness somewhere in the economy, their severity depends on the characteristics and length of a given business cycle, the policies chosen to resolve them, and the external environment.

While that resolution is generally out of your hands, and the shock of a contraction has varying degrees of impact on each of us, there are several procedures you should absolutely follow to mitigate the effects of an economic downturn.


Hopefully, you have a rainy day savings account, but for many people, that's not realistic. So now is the time to cut back on costs, whether you are stably employed or a job seeker.

  • Got a subscription to a paid service? Cancel it for now and use the free version, if available.
  • New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have suspended electricity and gas non-payment shut-offs. If you encounter a problem with your utility company, call your state's consumer utility helpline.
  • Read your state's unemployment benefits, which are modified in times like these, at least once each day. Policies are in flux, so you’ll want to watch for changes.
  • If you have a mortgage or auto loan, inquire about refinancing at a lower or fixed interest rate.


Job seeking is a process few are naturally good at, even when business is booming. In bad times, we could use a steady hand and a refresher on what makes a strong job search:

  • Update your résumé and digital portfolio. Make sure every application includes the required components, such as a cover letter. Your application needs to match a job listing as closely as possible. Unemployment numbers increase in recessions, and the competition for open listings will be greater. You've got to give your best.
  • Get in touch with a recruiter. Not only might they offer free résumé and portfolio reviews (hello!), but recruiters also have communication back-channels, credibility, and contacts in the private and non-profit sectors that we want job seekers to take advantage of!
  • Keep your skills sharp with free online classes, side projects, and volunteer work. This doubles as portfolio material.
  • Read the financial press for updates on industries least impacted by the recession. Some industries even see their growth skyrocket. This means an uptick in job listings and stable wages.
  • It might seem like a long shot, but your LinkedIn presence matters. Use that space to write, post your thoughts about your industry, and make your profile seen in your network. This effectively complements your applications when prospective employers research your social media presence and serves as an auxiliary method of networking!


Recessions are reminders that no job is too small and that our community is the sum of all of our parts. As you adjust to the circumstances, you might find some moments to be more difficult than others. One positive that we hope will come from this is our willingness to reach out to others when we need them, whether it's personal or job-related. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us and your network. We'd love to hear from you!

Wishing you safety and fruitful job seeking