Updated: June 12, 2023 | First Posted: September 28, 2020

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How To Level Up Before An Economic Downturn

Economic downturns (and the layoffs and downsizing that they usually include) are almost inevitable at some point in your working life, which is why you should do everything you can now to make your tech career recession-proof. As tech employers plan ahead for stormy economic seas, IT workers need to take affirmative, proactive steps to help them keep their jobs and ride the storm out with a steady paycheck.

What You’ll Learn in this Post:

  • The best time to prepare for stormy economic seas is when everything in your career is going swimmingly.
  • Taking stock of your career, developing your skill sets, and expanding your professional network can help position you for tech industry layoffs and downsizing that often accompany economic recessions.
  • By being open to change, getting out of your comfort zone, and keeping an eye open for opportunities, you’ll be more adaptable and ready for the uncertainty that is the only certain thing about the economy.

Here are six things IT workers can do to make their tech career recession-proof the right way.

GTN Tech Career Recession ProofWork Your Network

Even if you consider yourself something of an introvert, as many IT folks do, now is not the time to keep to yourself. Instead, this is the perfect time to build connections by increasing your networking activity.

Invest in your professional network by engaging with colleagues inside and beyond your current organization, directly or through social media.

Reach out to one person in your network each day, or each week at a minimum, just to connect and see if you can help them with anything. Even if they don’t need any assistance, they will likely remember your gesture and be more inclined to help you out if and when you need them – making your tech career recession-proof.

Put Yourself Out There

GTN Tech Career Recession Proof

Not only should you nurture your existing network, but you work on expanding it even further. To do so, you need to put yourself out there: sign up for webinars and other professional education programs and attend relevant industry meetings or conferences where you quickly make lots of new connections. Consider acting as a speaker, presenter, or panelist if you have particular subject matter expertise.

Start by reading our article How to Quickly Improve Your LinkedIn Profile, then review the other aspects of your online presence (both professional and personal) to ensure it is up to date and shines a bright spotlight on your impressive career and achievements.

Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

When economic waters are calm, you may want to take a “don’t rock the boat” approach to your career. But when smooth sailing turns to stormy seas, getting out of your comfort zone may be the one thing that helps you stay afloat and makes your tech career recession-proof.

Leaving your comfort zone can take many forms. This can include expanding your skill sets through certification programs or other relevant courses of study or involve exploring opportunities – at your company, in other locations, or even in other industries – that you may not have considered when everything was going swimmingly.

If you find yourself between jobs, take advantage of that found time to keep abreast of the latest developments in technology and the IT industry. And if you want to step out of your professional comfort zone, doing so in your personal life can help, such as trying bold, unfamiliar activities that can build your confidence and resilience.

Take Stock

GTN - tech career recession-proofWe can get so caught up in the day-to-day pressures and priorities of our jobs and lives that we can lose sight of the big picture. Set aside some time to take a step back and take stock of where you are at in your professional and personal journeys. Are you on the path you envisioned for yourself? Is your career trajectory moving along at the right pace? Are your skills where you want them to be? Do you see yourself in the same company or position one year, five years, or ten years from now?

Asking yourself some of these challenging questions occasionally, especially during relative stability, can help you take advantage of opportunities to course-correct or jumpstart your career.

Be Adaptable and Open To Change and Uncertainty

Even in the constantly changing world of tech, people tend to be creatures of habit. But if the last several years have taught us anything, we have learned that things that may have once seemed unimaginable can become all too real in an instant. To make your tech career recession-proof, you need to prepare for the likelihood that the way you’ve always done things, how all of your training and experience told you how to do your job, may one day no longer be ideal.

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IT companies regularly redefine roles and responsibilities in response to changes in economic and industry circumstances. You need to understand what drives these changes and educate yourself about the direction your company and the industry are heading. That means complementing your well-honed technical mindset with an equally strong business mindset. Stay up-to-date on industry news and get a sense of the big picture that frames your small corner of the tech world.

Be Prepared For New Opportunities That Can Make Your Tech Career Recession-Proof

Keeping your head down and doing your job may make you a great team member, but focusing exclusively on your responsibilities can leave you blind during an economic downturn.

Keep an eye open for career opportunities in technology, even if you aren’t actively looking for a new position. Check in on tech recruiting sites, job and message boards, and company career pages to understand which companies are hiring and what positions are available. Be prepared to seize new opportunities by keeping your resume fresh and ready to send at a moment’s notice.

Bonus Tip: Align Yourself with GTN Technical Staffing

Whether you are looking for a permanent position or temporary, contract-based work in the tech industry, GTN Technical Staffing can help connect you to the best tech jobs out there. In boom times and times of economic uncertainty, we can help you navigate an ever-changing tech employment landscape. Speak with one of our experienced technical recruiters today to learn more..