The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on almost every business in the United States, dramatically affecting the economy and people’s lives. In April 2020, the U.S. reported the highest unemployment rate since the 2008-09 economic crisis, with over 22 million Americans asking for unemployment benefits, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Although unemployment rates have decreased to 6.9%, almost a percentage point, economic experts warn we are still not out of woods. Businesses, even major ones like Macy’s, are still going through financial troubles, the oil prices are still going up and the dollar’s value is quite volatile.
To make sure you get through a possible economic crisis (imminent, according to various economists), here are 6 career mistakes you should avoid during the pandemic and times of economic downturn.
Don’t assume your job is 100% safe
Even if the sector you’re working in hasn’t been majorly affected by the economic crisis or the company you’re working for has always taken all efforts to keep people employed in difficult times, don’t assume your job is not vulnerable to the effects of the recession.
Instead of taking your job for granted, think of a safety plan …just in case something bad happens. I’m not saying it will, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. When drafting your backup plan, consider remote working as well and discover the Best and Worst States to Work from Home.
Don’t forget to update your resume constantly
When you’ve seemingly got nothing to worry about, it’s easy to become complacent and too comfortable for your own good. But things can be good with an updated resume and portfolio as well, if not better. That’s because in case of an unexpected layoff, you’ll be able to start searching for your next job with a full and revised CV that showcases your best skills and work experience.
“In general, we must always be growing, changing and improving ourselves, our habits and our businesses to continue seeing success. In an economic downturn this is even more true,” says Hush Blankets CEO Lior Ohayon.
The bad scenario with the layoff might not be the case for you. You might simply dislike your job or find it unfulfilling. Whatever the case, check out these 16 Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Current Job and Find a New One.
Don’t forget about networking
If you look in the right place, you’ll usually be able to notice some signs that something’s about to change. Say, an economic downturn is about to take place. Networking is extremely useful throughout one’s career, but it can be especially helpful at a time of crisis, when your job might be at stake.
“Studies continue to show that upwards of 80% of jobs are things people find on the so-called hidden job market. That is to say, the jobs aren’t posted or advertised online”, says career counselor Emily K. Frank of Career Catalyst. This means that people find out about the job openings from other people they know and refer them for the positions, “hear about them in professional organizations, and get tapped to move up from volunteer or entry-level positions.”
Although maintaining a professional network is a bit more difficult during a pandemic, you can use technology to your advantage and keep in touch with other people through virtual meetings and conferences.
Don’t postpone looking for jobs
If you do notice the signs that an economic crisis is coming and you think your job is in danger, don’t wait until you receive a confirmation by being laid off. Millions of other people are probably in the same situation, so, it will definitely pay off to be ahead of the game and check out new jobs long before others.
You don’t have to quit your current job and accept another one for the sake of it; scout for new positions until you find one that ticks all your boxes and then say yes. “Career progress takes persistence and resilience, especially in a recession. Keep an eye out for opportunities that improve your career,” advises author and podcast host Nicolle Merrill.
Don’t disregard job trends
Industries and businesses are affected by economic crises in different ways. Businesses that were able to adapt to the pandemic and use digitalization in their favor, like IT or delivery services, were not as hit as the hospitality or airline industries, for example.
When thinking about the future, do not ignore industry and job trends. Keeping an eye on both could help you make the smart choice and stay afloat during an economic downturn. to help you with that, here are 17 Recession-Proof Jobs That Can Survive Any Economic Crisis.
Don’t assume you won’t have to pay bills
It’s true that during the pandemic, the U.S. government approved a temporary suspension of evictions and companies have agreed to extend the deadlines for certain payments. These measures and grace periods have been incredibly helpful for thousands of Americans, but they won’t continue indefinitely.
You will have to pay all of your bills sooner or later, so don’t rely on the payment deferral measures for too long. Unless you want your bills to keep adding up to the point they become impossible to pay, try to pay your bills as much as you can.
See also: 13 Things You Shouldn’t Purchase During a Recession