recession-proof your resume

I have whiplash. The job market went – in no time – from months of employers bemoaning the paucity of qualified candidates for critical positions to a real hesitation around hiring due to predictions of a looming recession. As of this writing, hiring remains strong in many sectors, although there are already layoffs in some. Nobody knows what 2023 will bring, so it makes sense to recession-proof your resume.

From a recent Zip Recruiter post, “The number of job openings dropped from 11.3 million in May to 11 million in June and landed up at 11.2 million on the last day of July. However, this is significantly more than the 6.9 million job openings of February 2020, showing a still-robust demand for talent.”

In an environment where there are many qualified candidates for fewer openings, the best way to recession-proof your resume is to differentiate yourself from everyone else by showcasing accomplishments that are unique to you. Don’t rely on what I see other resume writers do and list a bunch of “strengths” keywords without any context. Provide context! Your resume is a marketing tool and you market yourself by telling a story. Each bullet on your resume should briefly tell a story about your accomplishments. If you have many interesting accomplishments, select 6 – 8 of the most compelling and explain what you did and what was the outcome. This differentiates you because while thousands of people probably do what you do, only YOU can provide specific examples of how well you performed.

Here’s one I wrote for a UI/UX designer:

  • Implemented new content management system for XXXX website that allowed client to edit content independent of external developers, as well as ensuring site’s responsiveness by coding front-end, & creating subtle animations to enhance design

And a HR recruiter:

  • Reduced cost-per-hire 15-20% by sourcing new hires via social media & negotiating an exclusive relationship with a nationally recognized headhunter at favorable rates

From a Retail Finance executive:

  • Negotiated with <store name> executive management to adjust their transaction threshold, creating a 35% sales mix adjustment to more profitable promotions & growing incremental annual revenue by >$1.15M

Another way you can recession-proof your resume is to include a section that names all of your software competencies. If MS Excel is one of them, and you use it frequently, include the level of Excel competence along with specific functions such as VLOOKUP or pivot tables. If you code, include a separate section of programming languages, making sure to eliminate any that are out of date. Just don’t dump all your technical skills into one section called technology.

Since there is less job hopping when there are fears of a recession, you may put aside updating your resume. Don’t. If there are layoffs at your company, you need to make the case for your own retention. Recession-proof your resume by updating it with skills, responsibilities, and accomplishments since you last used it to get the job you now have.

Hiring historically slows during a recession, although lately, all bets are off; still, it’s smart to recession-proof your resume to establish your competency for the positions companies consider critical, even during downturns.

Ready to recession-proof your resume?