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Optimum Talks Blog

Job hunting during an economic slump can be a strategic career move

by Optimum Talent
June 24, 2015

Everyone has heard the old adage when it comes to employers making changes in their workforce – last in, first out. Unfortunately, this saying has permeated people’s beliefs leading many to use it as a reason to avoid making a career move. This thought is particularly dominant during an economic downturn, when people frequently put their aspirations for a new job on hold as they are nervous about the outcome. They would rather wait until the time is right, a time when there is less uncertainty.

It is understandable that people feel this way. During a downturn, we are constantly bombarded with headlines about organizations downsizing and laying off their workforce. However, there is a silver lining. Although it may seem counterintuitive, those very same organizations are often ‘rightsizing’ meaning that there can be new opportunities popping up. Sound a bit strange? Well here’s why.

Organizations often utilize a downturn to evaluate their business structure and strategy.  Sometimes, the skillsets needed during a strong economy are very different from those required in a shrinking economy and as a result, many organizations will begin to review not only the size of their teams, but whether they have the right compliment of skills. Given this, a downturn can often be a good time to look for your next opportunity.

Here are the top reasons why you should concentrate on finding your next opportunity during an economic dip.

You are in control of your career and the first mistake you can make is not realizing that!

You can’t move forward without taking some chances and an economic softening can be the right time to really take charge of your career.  It is best to ignore all the doom and gloom and use this time as an opportunity to reset. Don’t let what you read or hear derail your career aspirations.  You are in charge!

Less competition.

During a downturn, people are generally more concerned with keeping their current role than looking for a new one. With all these individuals actively withdrawing from an active job search it means that there can be less competition in the marketplace.

Opportunities to grow your skill set.

If a prospective job emerges that will give you the experience you need to further your career, you need to grab it. Training and development opportunities often dry up during a downturn.  Making a career move can often ensure your skills are fine-tuned. Taking charge of your own training and development is always important.

Networking and meeting new connections in your field is always a good thing.

The connections you make or re-establish today can be invaluable.  Expanding your network just makes good sense, no matter the economy.   Interviews can be a terrific way to expand your network and meet new people in your target industry; and while the connection might not lead to something right now, but could down the road.

Have you ever heard that the best time to invest is when markets are low?

The markets are destined to go back up; they always do. So, why not invest in yourself during an economic slow-down?  Making a career move should be treated as an investment. It is likely that your outcome will be similar to investing in capital improvements or the stock market – what you put in today will grow tomorrow.

There will always be risk involved when pursuing a new opportunity, so if now isn’t the right time, when will be? You can’t put your career aspirations on hold indefinitely. An economic downturn can be a great time to search for an opportunity because many highly skilled individuals choose to put their search on hold.  And, sometimes the experience you develop by switching roles can help propel your career forward to new heights. Even if you go through the process and are unsuccessful, you can make some great connections in your target industry or company.  Ultimately – you are in control of your career and sometimes you just need to take a chance. No risk, no reward!

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