There are two near term warning signs you can monitor that give some advance notice that an economic slowdown may be coming: job posting boards and corporate website job postings. The first, job boards, are less accurate because postings are often left up for a set period; so, the posting might not be current even though it appears to still be active. The second warning sign, is to monitor direct company website job postings which are usually more accurate and can be a decent barometer for the actual state of the job market. When they begin to shrink it is a clearer indication that hiring is really slowing down.
Recession Proofing Your Career
Recession proofing your career by starting to do a few things differently right now is always a good idea, rather than waiting for signs of a potential downturn. There are two simple activities you can add into your daily work routine that will help recession proof your career. The first is a slight shift in networking, the other is creating career options.
Converting Network Contacts into Advocates
Everyone has network contacts, but not everyone in your network is an advocate. While people we talk to often have extensive networks, when things slow down the real question is who among your contacts will be advocates for your career. The difference is subtle but important: you communicate with contacts, but you take action with advocates. The fastest way to transform contacts into advocates is by responding promptly to all communications. When you do this pay special attention to the issue that initiated the communication. Responding appropriately to your contact’s issue and being helpful is the first step to converting contacts into advocates. These advocates then need to be nurtured with regular periodic value added communications. Offer to help them and always thank them for their help, the payback will be immeasurable. Then when the time eventually comes for you to pivot your career the value of a nurtured network of advocates will prove invaluable.
Creating Career Options
As you progress through accumulating job skills to developing professional expertise your career trajectory takes shape. By paying attention to adjacencies for your career you can avoid becoming overspecialized which limits job and career options. For example, in the publications sector, if you started your career taking traditional jobs to become a professional reporter you might now have cause for concern as that job market is shrinking. The good news is that there are adjacencies in media and communications that are growing dramatically, this creates career options. Thus, career optionality is created by taking your reporting skills and re-focusing them in the media and communications sector which is becoming a more stable career path. Some ways to expand your view of adjacencies for your career include joining professional associations and attending networking meetings that focus in your career area(s). The interactions, newsletters and meetings you attend are a good way to see where things are going. This analogy is applicable to other career path adjacency options in many professions like traditional analytics to big data information management, plant operators to remote plant operators, etc.
The best thing about becoming aware of career adjacency options is that you can take action to manage your career. By responding promptly to issues raised within your network and by paying attention to adjacent career paths you are gaining control over your career in a positive and productive way. And you are starting to recession proof your career. Both of these networking related actions can be done by incorporating these activities into your daily work life right now and will provide huge future benefits. People we work with who do take these actions on a regular basis report excellent results over time. Of course building and then updating your career plan helps set the stage for these actions, but this will be a topic – career planning – for another blog post.