Dealing With A Downturn

Talk of recession got you down about your job prospects? Take it as a chance to get your head in the game and get ahead once you graduate.

Simple economics teaches you one thing: when there are signs of a recession, both big and small companies are bound to be cautious about new hires. And there's no denying that all the speculative talk may make you panic a little more about your future. 

Whether there really is a recession or not, there’s no need to dip into a great depression. Just as how companies prepare for a slowdown in the market, you too can ready yourself for the worst-case scenario. 

Before you get in the game

Keep your faith
Yes, it really is easier said than done, but you’ve got to stay positive throughout the process! Negative talk about a lack of jobs is going to be rampant especially during tougher economic times – but take all that talk with a pinch of salt.

Also, here's a comforting fact: According to the Graduate Employment Survey 2015, a minimum of 70% of graduates were hired in permanent positions upon graduating. 

Start early
Even if there isn’t a recession, the job market here is generally pretty competitive for fresh grads. Here’s a couple of ways to make yourself more marketable while continuing the job search – it shows potential employers that you’re keeping yourself busy while applying.

Super intern
Try out a couple of internships while you’re job-hunting. Besides having a lot more to talk about at future job interviews, you’ll also get a better feel of the career path you’re looking to embark upon.

Try temp-ing
If you're looking to earn a little more, apply for temp or part-time positions that are relevant to your intended profession. On the other hand, even if your part-time gig isn’t really related to your chosen field, you’d still be able to elaborate on the invaluable soft skills you’ve gained when you go for future interviews.

Playing it right

Don't stop, won't stop (applying)
News of the economic slowdown have yet to die down, so what should you do? Continue applying, of course! Even if you get wind of companies going through hiring freezes, or having fewer job openings, press on. Most companies will still keep the broader picture in mind and be on a lookout for fresh new talent even in times of trouble.

Be open
One of the most important things to remember when you’re applying for jobs – recession or none – is to manage your expectations of what you’ll actually land straight out of school. Try and keep an open mind throughout the job searching process!

Try out a different role 
You could always work towards getting internal transfers to a role that you had initially aimed for. Alternatively, there’s no harm in widening your network – someone from your current line could have contacts to a company offering your ideal role.

Settle for a different industry (you might like it) 
Alternatively, you could look out for jobs in industries that are unrelated to your field of study, and simply give it a go! Keeping your mind open to all the possibilities may lead to great job satisfaction as well.

Keep it real

Speak to the pros
Speak to your career counsellors or simply strike up a conversation with someone wiser and more experienced – they might be able to give better insight into what to expect from the job market or specific industry once you graduate.

Research, research, research
You could also find out which industries are the hardiest in tough times and search for relevant jobs accordingly. However, keep in mind that job satisfaction should still be a priority! Liking what you do matters more in the long run than a short term recession, so don’t switch industries just because it offers more prospects.

Stay commercially aware
Above all, talk of tough times is exactly when you should keep abreast of the latest news on the economy and specific industry you’re intending to enter. This could also be the critical differentiating point to push recruiters to hire you instead of another equally qualified candidate.