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  • Marnie Suss

3 strategies for navigating a tough job market

Updated: Feb 26


Learn three strategies how to navigate a tough economy and uncertain job market.

The 2008 Recession created a tough job market and it left me with a few scars, influencing the way I approach my career and make decisions amidst uncertainty. While not all my strategies were initially positive or sustainable, the lessons I learned have ultimately instilled confidence and a sense of comfort.

Here are three (3) strategies I continue to lean on in uncertain times:

1. Never lose your edge.

Maintaining your distinct value within your field or industry is essential. This involves keeping up with technological advancements and skill sets, understanding the evolving landscape, and seeking experiences that set you apart from your peers.

Maybe you cultivate your edge through education, technical skills, taking risks, or strategically chasing opportunities that will be unique to your field, such as creating a startup, volunteering to help with a major disaster, or taking on extra assignments or shifts to gain more experience.

Everyone can find and build an edge. The challenge is in maintaining it.

Recently, after recovering from a few years of intense work, I finally have the headspace to think about new projects and be creative again.

Woman sitting at a computer typing.

2. Keep a pulse on the job market.

Having started my career during the Great Recession, I gained a profound appreciation for a challenging job market.

Job postings are an invaluable source of information, signaling which skills are in demand for competitiveness. The number of openings within an organization is also a telling indicator of the job market's health. Companies with multiple openings may be more open to giving individuals a chance, compared to those with just one vacancy, which might be less flexible in experience requirements.

Regardless of your current job security, maintaining a current understanding of the market facilitates a seamless transition should the need arise.

I also frequently apply to jobs even if I'm not really looking. Interviewing consistently keeps me sharp, and it also gives me an indicator of what my next steps could be, and sometimes more importantly what I don't want to do anymore.

For example, I recently interviewed for a Head of... job at a major company. Turns out the role was really saddled with a lot of administrative and IC work, things I did 4 or 5 years ago in my career. While the money and title would have been attractive, the work itself would not have felt like growth. I would have also been compromising some personal decisions.

All this to say, be active in the market, it will give you a sense of how marketable you are in the current climate. It's another data point to measure your edge.

3. Cold applications are powerful.

Some of the most pivotal career opportunities I've had were secured through cold applications or without any personal connections. This experience underscores your inherent value independent of your network.

While connections can be invaluable, knowing you can secure a position without them enables you to become your most resilient, and ultimately more powerful as you move forward.

Keep building your network, and reach out to your network when you are looking for your next opportunity. It's an important resource to build, especially as you move in your career.

But it's not the only way to be successful.

Don't let your network become a limitation.

I've received interviews and offers from some of the biggest companies and organizations without any connections.

Trust your experience will speak for itself, and pursue all your options.

Embracing these mindsets has not only helped me get through a recession, but it has also empowered me to make decisions amidst uncertainty.

By cultivating your unique edge, staying attuned to the job market, and keeping your options open, you can navigate tough times with confidence and resilience.



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