Forging a Career in Tough Economic Times

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After the Great Recession, the U.S. and world economies began a long recovery. Growth continued for years after the end of the recession, resulting in the longest bull market in history. But all good things must come to an end, and signs suggest that our long run of economic good times may be coming to a close. The stock market has seen slips in recent weeks and months, and the NASDAQ stock exchange is on the verge of entering a bear market.

If tough economic times continue, it could make the world of work a bit more frightening — especially for those who are just starting out, or who are already unhappy with their careers. That’s why it pays to be proactive and smart as you seek to chart a career path forward in increasingly tough economic times. Here are a few career-related moves to consider.

See a career counselor

If you’re not sure where your passions and talents are leading you, don’t worry. Plenty of people out there are unsure of what they want to do with their careers, and it’s typical to change career paths several times before you retire. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make an effort to pin down a great idea for your next career step. You should think hard about what you are best suited for, which jobs will be most financially rewarding and secure, and what you’ll most enjoy doing.

You don’t have to figure out all of that by yourself, though. You can and should turn to a professional for help. Working with a career counselor can be a huge help. “Counseling can help you work out your priorities and your options,” explain career counselors in DC — a city that sees plenty of top talents change jobs and careers.

In fact, a lot of professionals can help you out over the course of your career. Recruiters can help connect you with top job offers, and therapists and other mental health professionals can help you manage your decisions and on-the-job stresses in healthy ways.

Consider switching from freelancing to a salaried position

The economic boom times we’ve seen over the course of the past decade have led to a rise in freelancing and contract work. But that sort of work can also be unpredictable, and tough economic times can take a toll on freelancers, who lack the job security and benefits of their salaried counterparts.

Now may be the right time for freelancers to entertain the option of switching to the right salaried position. Applying now, before more serious dives in the market, could be your best bet.

Improve your earning power with certifications and degrees

Recessions are tough times in which to work, and they can result in long-term loss of earning power. Missing raises for just a few years can keep you from earning more later in your career. But that also means that this is a good time to head back to school, where you could increase your earning potential by adding more qualifications to your resume. With the right timing, you could re-enter the workforce just in time for a big economic recovery.

Of course, not everyone has the time or the means to go back to school right now. But you can still improve your qualifications as a way to get ahead. Consider going to school part-time, getting a tested certification, or simply working on your skills in your spare time. Building up your resume can make you a stronger candidate to earn well no matter what the economy does.

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