How To Find a Job Even If There's a Recession, According To An Expert

The chief economist at ZipRecruiter talks to Entrepreneur about how to land the job you want.

learn more about Madeline Garfinkle

By Madeline Garfinkle

Economic uncertainty, skyrocketing inflation, and chatter of a looming recession could make finding a new job a challenging task.

Whether you've recently been laid off in the tech, housing, or crypto sectors or are simply looking to make a change, there are steps you can take to be strategic about your job search during these hard economic times.

Julia Pollak, a chief economist at ZipRecruiter, talked to Entrepreneur about the best way to find a new job, even if there's a recession.

Act fast

Pollak has one crucial rule for those who have been recently laid off: respond quickly.

"In layoffs, people respond in different ways – some are just so heartbroken and upset, and they take forever to update their LinkedIn profiles," Pollak said. "But because a job search can take so much time, I'd recommend people start right away and get as much information as possible and start sending applications out right away."

Pollak also thinks that by starting the search early, you have more time and opportunity to learn about what positions are out there, as well as fine-tune your own interview process.

Related: 5 Simple Job Hunting Techniques to Land Your Dream Job

Be discoverable

While networking remains a strong practice to build connections and find opportunities, an increasing number of work is found online.

Data from TopResume found that 77% of recruiters rely on LinkedIn to find talent, so if you're not online or haven't updated your profile in a while, you could be missing out on endless opportunities.

"So much of recruiting these days is outbound recruiting," Pollak said. "Companies reach out to candidates proactively, and so you really need to make yourself findable. That's the most crucial thing. Opportunities will find you and employers are still desperate for talent. So if you participate in the market to some degree, you can be found by the most hungry employers."

Related: 5 Personal Branding Tips to Help Your Job Search

Don't take rejection personally

Of course, not getting a role you have been interviewing for hurts, but Pollak says that taking it personally will only stall or backtrack your job search progress.

"Think about it this way: in the housing market, if you bid on a lot of houses and you get out-bid on every single one, you don't think, 'Ugh, I'm a failure.' You think: 'Oh man, this is a tough market,'" Pollak said. "You need to send 20-30 applications to have a chance in the numbers game."

Applying for a job means putting yourself out there, so people take rejection personally, Pollak adds.

"[People] get dejected and despondent and sad — but that is the number one thing not to do," she said. "Keep your spirits up, treat it like a numbers game, and give yourself a chance to win."

Related: Rejection Is Part of Entrepreneurship. Here's How to Handle It.

Stay on top of industry news and have a backup plan for your backup plan

A fall-back plan is a safety net during a career interlude. However, those plans often change over time and move in pendulums based on external economic and societal factors.

In a pre-pandemic world, the default plan for "in-between" work would commonly be the service and hospitality industries. However, when Covid-19 sparked massive lockdowns, that default plan was no longer an option.

What we saw instead, Pollak says, was a record number of people becoming licensed real estate agents — then an attractive option because of low mortgage rates and rising home prices. But the housing market looks quite different now, so it might be time for a backup plan to the backup plan.

"People really need to read up on what's happening in the market or spend time seeing what employers are posting," Pollak says. "That's a way to see what's in the market and what's the fall-back right now because the fall-back isn't the same from one moment to the next."

Madeline Garfinkle

Entrepreneur Staff

Editorial Assistant

Madeline Garfinkle is an Editorial Assistant at She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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