Finding a job in a recession


By as seen in the Courier-Post on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020

Arecession can be a scary time to start a job search. But here are some tips to help you find a good job, even in the toughest job market.

1. Create a computer-proof resume

There is a strong chance your resume will be screened by a computer. So avoid fancy formatting, columns and tables, and ensure that your resume can be read by a bot.

2. List the right skills

Think carefully about the soft skills and hard skills you bring to a job. As a helpful exercise, you may want to list them all and explain why they are important.

If you worked at a restaurant before COVID-19, you might think your skill is food preparation. But chances are your job skills also include face-to-face communication, customer service, problem solving, time management and teamwork.

Clearly list your job skills in your resume, using the same language used in the job postings for which you are applying, where appropriate. A strong match between the skills on your resume and the skills in the job description will help you rise to the top of computer ranking algorithms.

3. Focus on growing industries

Nobody knows exactly what the future holds, but projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics have a strong track record of success.

For example, the Bureau’s 2008-18 projections correctly guessed which industries would grow and which would shrink 91% of the time.

Find the BLS’s most recent projections for the 2018-28 period at

4. Develop in-demand skills

When employers receive 100 applications for a single vacancy, objective criteria – like certifications and credentials – can help them decide. Especially now that in-person recruitment efforts are limited due to the pandemic, employers have to evaluate you on paper. Being able to list a recently earned Microsoft Excel certificate is far more compelling than merely listing “Excel skills,” for example.

The same goes for any software program or platform.

5. Stay positive

If at first you don’t succeed, try a different approach. Come up with a daily goal – say, a target number of job applications to submit – and reward yourself for meeting your goal.

Try a new search strategy every few days. Doing so can help keep things interesting and expand your search. Here are some to consider: • Search for employers with the greatest need. Using a keyword search, look for job postings where the employer reports an “urgent need” for candidates. Employers who need to fill vacancies urgently are more likely to respond quickly and agree to an immediate start date.

• Search for the best companies.

Search for job postings where the hiring company describes itself as being one of the “fastest-growing” or “top-rated” organizations in its industry.

• Search for household names.

Spend a few days exploring vacancies at large companies with household names that are always hiring across a wide range of roles.

• Search for well-funded startups.

Keywords like “venture capitalbacked,” “VC-backed” or “Y Combinator-backed” can find innovative, exciting companies that investors think may be the next big thing.

• Search for your terms related to your passions and hobbies. Do you love animals? Is music your hobby?

Are you passionate about nature conservation? Do you love listening to podcasts? An unemployment spell could be an opportunity to turn your passion into your career.