When the economic future is questionable, be ready to take care of your career.
Practically overnight, the coronavirus outbreak has dramatically changed our lives. Millions of workers have lost their jobs, and even more have been furloughed. All of this has taken a toll on the UK's economy, and experts warn that the future is bleak.
The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Report showed the economy spiralling into its first recession in more than a decade. It would be the sharpest annual contraction (drop in spending) since 1706. All in all, projections state that over the course of 2020, the impact of COVID-19 could shrink the economy by a whopping 14 per cent.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak adds: 'It is now very likely that the UK economy will face a significant recession this year, and we're already in the middle of that as we speak.'
So, what does this oncoming economic downturn mean for you? During a recession, companies look for any way to cut costs, including resorting to termination, even for longtime employees. Recessions also put pressure on job seekers, who will see fewer job openings and increased competition as they try their hand in the job market.
With your career potentially in jeopardy, it's important to be prepared for the worst. Just like weather-proofing your house before a storm hits, you can take these proactive steps to make sure your career isn't blown off course by the strong economic winds ahead.
Show that you're a valuable employee
Whether it's your first month on the job or you're a veteran employee, there are always ways to improve yourself in your role. The first place to start is a chat with your manager; talk to your boss about areas you can improve in and your career path within the company. You can also take this opportunity to reaffirm your gratitude for having a job at the company and your intention to stay on as a long-term, valued employee.
In the meantime, don't be afraid to take on challenging projects. Show management that you've got what it takes to keep your nose to the grindstone during difficult times. Also, if your company offers any supplementary trainings or certifications, you might consider enrolling in those to gain valuable skills that you can bring to the job and help diversify your skill set.
Finally, if you haven't done so already, make a conscious effort to make friends with your immediate colleagues, as well as with employees in other departments of the company. The support of your colleagues can go a long way in retaining your employment and can serve you well later in your career too by giving you a large network to draw from.
Get in touch with your network
Whether you're actively hunting for a job or taking proactive steps to secure your career, your network can act as a powerful safety net in a recession, able to help you bounce forward into a new employment position. Ultimately, your network is made up of individual people. Therefore, the key to strengthening your network is to diligently strengthen your professional relationships one by one. This can be through scheduling coffee chats with current colleagues, congratulating your connections on LinkedIn for new jobs or by sending quick messages to former colleagues enquiring after how they're faring now.
It's important to keep building your network too. Attend networking events or schedule informational interviews with people in other companies to learn more about what's going on in your field.
Find a side hustle
'Side hustle' is a term used to describe an extra gig you do on the side of your full-time job, which can provide a helpful cushion during the financial insecurity of a recession. The opportunity for remote work has made this type of work more tangible than ever. Websites like Upwork and Fiverr help freelancers from all over the world find short-term online positions, ranging from freelance copyediting to acting as a virtual assistant.
Side hustles don't have to be based on the internet, either. From selling your art at craft fairs to teaching tennis on the weekends, options are abound for making a few extra quid in your spare time. Of course, be sure to check the contract of your full-time job to make sure there aren't any provisions prohibiting you from taking on freelance work, or if there are any sections that require you to notify your employer that you're taking on an extra gig.
Update your CV
In a volatile economy, where you might be employed one day and given the sack the next, it's important to always have an up-to-date CV on hand. Crafting a thoughtful, compelling CV can be a difficult task, and it doesn't always happen overnight. For such an important task, it's worth looking into professional CV-writing services. While you might have only updated your CV once or twice in your career, experts at these services write new CVs for people every day, bringing a wealth of experience that's hard to match.
Having a killer CV is especially important in an economic downturn, where there will be increased competition for jobs. The right CV will help you stand out from the pack, landing your file on the top of HR's stack of applications.
Arm yourself for a possible recession with a CV that will impress, no matter the economy. Click here to learn more about TopCV's professional CV-writing services.