5 Easy Tips for Becoming a Better Job Candidate During a Recession

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

After years of historically low unemployment, companies in the U.S. and around the world are scaling back their workforce as we enter into an economic recession. Millions of workers who haven’t searched for a new job in years will find themselves hunting for gainful employment within a highly competitive market.

So how do you make yourself a better job candidate? We turned to veteran talent recruiter Lilly Nolan who gave five helpful tips for rising to the top of a crowded field and landing your next job. 


Review Your Resume

No, no, no, we don’t mean the obvious tip of updating your resume to make sure it’s current. We’re talking about training yourself to tell the story of your professional career in a way that’s concise, impactful, and emphasizes the talents you bring to bear. It might’ve been pure ages since you reflected on some of the wins you made in your previous role, or the role before that, so go through your resume and train yourself on how to tell your story. It’s about mental preparation. It’s about practice. You’re only going to get a few dozen minutes to speak with hiring managers, make them count by learning how to artfully articulate your work experiences.  


Reach Out to Your Network

Have you been furloughed or laid off? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Luckily, there's a good chance your network includes people who can either help out directly or point you in the direction of someone else who can. If it’s your style, post a status on your social networks about your experience and the roles where you’d shine. Or, if you don’t want to make such a public declaration, send a direct message to select individuals inquiring about career opportunities. People are incredibly willing to play a part in helping others land a job, especially since it only requires a few emails or simple introduction on their part. Plus, hiring managers will give greater consideration to candidates who are referred by a friend or even a friend of a friend. 


Cast Your Net Deep Not Wide

When it comes to searching for a job you might be tempted to shoot off resumes to any org that’s hiring in the hopes that something sticks. Don't do this. Hiring mangers get inundated with applications and they know that most are from people who aren't right for the role. Instead, Lilly recommends going after those handful of companies that are an excellent match for your skills, and researching the living daylights out of ‘em. Put those internet sleuthing skills to good use. Research the company, the role, and interviewers up and down, left and right. Then, reveal your deep knowledge when applying and be over-prepared for each interview. The people doing the hiring will be impressed with your commitment to understanding them better. 

Team Up with a Recruiter

Maybe you’ve never worked with a talent recruiter before; well, like they say, there’s a first time for everything. A recruiter can help you cut the line and land interviews that might seem impossible to score on your own. Remember, you and your recruiter have the exact same goal – getting you not just any job, but the right job. They are invested in your career just as much as you are, because their whole job is getting people hired. Best of all, teaming up with a recruiter won’t cost you a dime since their firms are contracted by the hiring company. So make your search infinitely easier by leveraging the skills of a talent recruiter. And if you're a hardware engineer, sign up (for free) with Cluster and a recruiter will get in touch.

Look on the Bright Side 

While being released from a company is rarely easy and seldom under pleasant circumstances, it doesn’t have to be all negative. If you weren’t happy, fulfilled, or satisfied in your last position, then being laid off gives you the opportunity to finally find a role that you'll actually enjoy. And if you liked your previous job, then now you know exactly what you want going forward. Armed with that knowledge, you can perform a well-targeted search, making the job hunt a less stressful and more positive experience.

Keep your head up and good luck!