8 High-Impact Tips for Finding Work in a Recession

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And just like that, you find yourself in a recession! It’s almost comical the way it’s announced that we are officially in a recession. Except it’s not funny if you happen to be trying to find work at that exact moment.

The announcement of a recession is simply the acknowledgement of a general, temporary economic decline.

It doesn’t have to mean your job search has become harder, there are still jobs available in a recession, but maybe you can use this stimulus to help drive your search to new heights.

We’ve got some high-impact ways to help you with finding work in a recession, and to be honest, even when it’s not a recession!

1. Remain Calm, Focused and Positive

It’s never a good idea to conduct a job search in a state of desperation or panic. Our job in this article is to give you the feeling that you are still in control of how this goes. But you can set yourself up with the right mindset by looking at your situation from a different angle.

Just keep this in mind: If you elevate your job search to a level that the majority of other job seekers are not achieving then you elevate your probability of getting what you want.

Also keep this in mind: You can come out of this better off than you were before if you’re prepared to work at it.

Keeping calm, focused and positive is the best strategy for success. Talk to those around you about any concerns you might have and iron them out straight away. Get your hands on an accountability partner to keep you doing what you need to do during your search.

To help you keep a level of calm and focus, try meditating every morning before getting stuck into your job search. We have a very easy way to get into meditation, even if you’ve struggled in the past.

Set up for your search in the right way by making some time for yourself. There will be a lot of work to do, but it’s a lot easier when you are in the right frame of mind.

2. Do Your Research

Getting work through recruiters is usually the first step people take, but it’s not the only way.

Get stuck into some LinkedIn and Google research.

Look for the roles that are a good fit for what you are interested in and have skills in. Don’t just stick with similar roles to the ones you have done previously, expand the search outwards to other roles that fit with your skills and interests. A simple search on Google for the top industries and companies for the type of work you want to do will give you a start.

Then jump on LinkedIn and find relevant people within these companies that are doing the work you are interested in, the people that are managing in these areas and that are recruiting for these companies.

Doing direct research yourself will put you ahead of a lot of people, but it’s still important to use recruiters. It’s what they do after all! Many people will stick to a handful of easy to find recruiters. A better way is to recruit your recruiters.

Look for at least 20, even up to 40 recruiters, then narrow down to the ones that you can work best with. Not all jobs are available to all recruiters so you want to widen your net to catch more opportunities.

3. Find the Industries that are Thriving

Not everyone suffers during a recession. There are many industries that actually take off, either as a result of a change in consumer needs or as a result of a change in tactics to stimulate growth instead of suffering contraction.

During your research, look out for these industries. Look for companies that are being more pro-active and think about what industries might thrive during a recession. It’s usually the things that people can’t do without, even in a recession. Accounting, food, logistics, entertainment all tend to at least stay stable or even grow during a recession.

If you see success stories, whatever the industry, investigate whether there is an opportunity for you.

“Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.”

Chris Grosser

4. Reach Out and Build Your Network

Building a network is not restricted to when you are in work, it is actually far more impactful to you when you are out of work.

With the above research done, reach out to those contacts in the companies you have identified. Compliment their work, ask if they have time for a chat about what they do, show your interest and knowledge and build a relationship.

Find out what problems they might be facing during the recession and use this knowledge to tailor your offer to them. What can you do to help them with their most important issues right now.

We find that 50-60% of our clients find work through their network rather than recruiters.

If you make it a part of your daily routine to build your network, it will not only help you now but will continue to do so for the rest of your life.

Use the network you already have to do some of the work for you. I have seen many examples of people with influential contacts who have helped them find work. This is a great demonstration of why it is important to build a valuable network.

This post by LinkedIn expert, Georgina Chapman, garnered hundreds of engagements in just one day. It was simply a plea to help a relative who had been made redundant.

“I had a number of different leads within 24 hours, which have now resulted in three different phone calls with people that saw the link.”

Ben Greasby, the subject of Georgina’s LinkedIn post

Even if you don’t know a LinkedIn influencer like Georgina, getting some help from people in your network that are happy to help can be really powerful.

5. Use the Opportunity to Think About Your Future

Your first instinct might be to stick to what you are used to and find it as quickly as possible. But you could be missing a huge opportunity to change how your life pans out.

Were you fully enjoying your career up to now? If not, take a moment to reflect on why that is. Investigate whether your career fits your values and what changes you could make to ensure it does.

It doesn’t need to be a complete change in career; could you do your work in a different way? Perhaps you could freelance instead of being in a full-time job. Hopefully, you have contacts you can lean on from past work to build up some leads to carry out work on your own terms.

This could be the start of something beautiful!

6. Don’t Let Your Pride Get In the Way

You’re looking for a job that fits your requirements, but that doesn’t mean you have to be unemployed. There will still be temporary jobs that you can take on, especially in those industries that are not affected by a recession.

Don’t be too proud to go for something that tides you over. A recession is a recession and nobody is immune to its effects. If you’re worried about money while finding work in a recession, it can impact how thoroughly you go about your job search so it can help to get something temporary that satisfies your financial needs but allows you time to do your search.

7. Tailor Each Application

It’s tempting to create a template for your CV, covering letter and correspondences that you can simply copy, paste, tweak and send out to all the companies you want to apply to.

Don’t do this. You’ve spent a lot more time than usual doing some really valuable research to find the opportunities that will get you a job in a recession. Don’t fall at the last hurdle because you thought you were already over the line. Make sure each application is tailored to the role, company and even person you are applying to.

You’ve made some connections and built some relationships, now use what you know about these people to make yourself stand out. They might love you in your conversations, but if you then send in a generic application you might turn them off.

If you know the issues a company is facing at that moment and you can help, tell them. If you can focus your skills towards what can help a company during a recession then you become more appealing.

Keep your quality and professionalism high throughout the process. It’s far better to make exceptional applications for 10 roles than mediocre applications for 50.

8. Think Long Term

This is probably the last thing you might be wanting to do, but plan for a long job search. With the right strategy and effort, your job search should be short, but this is a recession and things can change.

If you get an offer, don’t drop tools, keep up the job search until you’ve started that first day.

If you plan for a long job search, you can prepare yourself for any eventuality. Chances are that if you’ve done your research well, you’ve made the right connections, you’ve tailored your applications then your search will be short.

It can’t hurt making more connections though! Keep thinking about your future, even when you’ve got that job.


At first glance, being unemployed and finding work in a recession can seem utterly hopeless. But you have the power to come out of it better off than you were before.

To give yourself the best chance of success in your job search:

  • Understand that a recession doesn’t mean that there are no jobs.
  • Set yourself up with the right mindset, support and allowing time for yourself.
  • Do your research thoroughly, finding not only the best recruiters, but also off-market opportunities and the industries that are not affected by a recession.
  • Reach out, build your network, build relationships.
  • Take the opportunity to also think about the direction of your career from this point on.
  • Take on some temporary or freelance work to allay any financial worries.
  • Give quality and value to every application.
  • Keep up your momentum throughout the process.

All this work will not only get you a job from a seemingly desperate situation, it will set you up for a bright future.

A recession may just be the best thing that could have happened to your career!

We’d love to hear your job search stories, whether related to the recession or not. If your story could help someone else in a similar situation, then it’s definitely worth telling!