Massey University CareerplaNZ

Career and student learning issues brought to you by Massey University’s Careers Service – New Zealand

Recession Proofing

Posted by John Ross on January 26, 2009

Reasonable title, followed by reasonable advice – I hope!

It’s hard to avoid the current doom-and-gloom messages on the impact of the global recession.  Amongst the hardest hit will be those looking for work and – if that’s you – what can you do towards recession-proofing yourself? First, the bad news.  No matter how skilled and experienced you are, you’re likely to face stiffer competition for fewer opportunities.   This will mean – more than ever – the need to take a long hard look at yourself; at what you want and at what you can offer.  Also, at how you access opportunities.

Job-search is a project.  Like all good projects it involves goal-setting, and a good first step is to set yourself the goal of being clear about you.  Potential employers will want to know ‘what makes you tick’.  Answer honestly – how aware are you of your skills; your work values; your career interests and your personality – and of the personalities of those you’d want around you at work?  If you could use a refresher look at these, the resources you’ll find here might help.

Then, it’s a question of looking at how these ‘fit’ with the jobs that interest you – and the employers and sectors you’re attracted to.  Not all sectors, employers and roles will experience the recession the same way.  Indeed, some will remain relatively healthy – in New Zealand these might include opportunities in education; health; infrastructure developments etc.  Crucial to this will be access to up-to-date labour market information. 

Potential employers will want to see that you can add value and – even in your CV and cover letter – can articulate how.  They’ll be most interested in those with the technical skills to do the job, but who can combine these with non-technical skills and traits.  The latter will include resilience; initiative; leadership (or leadership potential); interpersonal and communication skills; energy and enthusiasm; problem solving and self-motivation – to name just a few. 

As you look at this issue, you may well be faced with the need – or desire – to re-train or upskill.  Indeed, one of the reasons that the education sector may be somewhat ‘recession proof’ is that it’s likely to see a growth in people studying – particularly short and/or part-time courses.  You can find information on the papers and programmes offered by Massey here.

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